Today is Christmas Day 2016, and I was going through some family history files. I came across this photo from Christmas Day, 1964. We were out at the Matthews family place owned by my Grandpa Curley and Grandma Margaret Matthews, located about three miles east and 1 1/4 miles north of Forestburg, SD. It’s the place where my mom and her two sisters did most of their growing up. That’s Grandpa Curley on the far right, hood up and smoking’ a heater. From left-right: Aunt Shirley, my youngest cousin Susan, her mother Aunt Marge, my Mom, Cousin Laurel (with the pointed hood!), me, Uncle Harvey and my younger brother Bruce. It was a crisp day with a gray sky but several inches of the freshest, whitest snow you can imagine. There was also a bit of wind, exaggerated by sailing over the snow in Grandpa’s old cutter. I can’t tell you a lot about the cutter, other than it was quite old and had been on the farm for decades.
I don’t know if it was the cold, the wind, the white snow or just the thrill of it all, but although I was a month short of four years old (and 52 years ago!), I remember vividly the experience. It’s probably my earliest Christmas memory, and quite arguably my best. Over the river, and through the woods….