2014-12-18 / The Office Cat

The Office Cat

‘Up on the House Top’

When I was a child, seeing Santa Claus in person was very rare. It just didn’t happen. Santa stayed at the North Pole getting toys ready for good little children until Christmas Eve when he loaded his sleigh, whistled for his reindeer and made his magical flight around the world, climbing his way down chimneys, and leaving gifts around the tree. But some smarty-pants local man (I won’t name him) thought it would be great fun to dress up in a red suit, black boots, a fake beard, and a red hat and make calls where there were children. This was in the 1930s or 1940s, and as young as I was, I immediately identified the man as a fake and cried for hours because I knew he wasn’t the REAL Santa Claus. ... Now there is a Santa practically on every corner, at the mall, in the stores, and even some churches. … I had rather continue to hold him in my imagination as that mysterious jolly old man who was kind to everybody. l

On the other hand, the Santas today look more real and children are used to seeing them around. According to what I hear, children tend to pay attention to him. One little five-year-old girl was waiting in line to speak to Santa at the bank last week when she saw and heard Santa point at her and say, “Have you cleaned up in your room today?” When the parents got home and couldn’t find the little girl, they finally found her in her room giving it a thorough cleaning. l

The article in last week’s column about prom parties drew comments from far and wide and I greatly appreciate the response. I would like to share with our readers two letters from family members of the late Pally (Mrs. Wilfred) Smith, who organized the first parties.

The first one is from Clint Smith who must be the son of Wilfred (Bubba) Smith Jr. Clint says: “A cousin shared your Office Cat column with the bit on Prom Parties with several family members earlier today. I have never heard of these Prom Parties but as the grandson of Pally Smith I can say that this definitely sounds like something she would have organized. Thanks for the smile and the new topic of conversation around the Christmas table.

The second letter was from Rev. Chip Wilson whom many of you know from his time as pastor of the First United Methodist Church here. Chip says: “I was excited to read in the online paper (The News-Reporter) today the section on prom parties and to read about my mother, Kathryn Smith Wilson, her brother Wilfred (Bubba) Smith, and Grandmom and Granddad. Pally and Wissie Smith. Pam and I, and Chris and Emily, so enjoyed our time in Washington and still count so many of you as special friends. One of the joys for me serving as pastor of the Washington First United Methodist Church was my family history with the church and community.” … Chip is now pastor of the Jasper United Methodist Church. l

We’re leading up to Christmas week and things have slowed down a bit to leave room for family celebrations. Most churches are having Christmas Eve services. In the downtown area, the Presbyterian Church will have its service at 5 p.m.; First Baptist Candlelight Service will begin at 6 p.m. as will the First United Methodist Church. The Episcopal Church of the Mediator continues to have its Evensong service at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. l

Willard Lance’s Beagle has four four-month-old Beagles ready for new homes. One is not available for adoption, because he is to be kept here for Willard and Sue’s little grandson, Andrew, who visits often, but the other three would make nice Christmas gifts for some little boy or girl. … Andrew is the son of Keeley and James Lance. l

Gas prices are holding steady in the $2.60 range in Wilkes County, while reports or even lower prices are being heard from surrounding counties. Prices on U.S. 78, west to east through Washington Monday afternoon were $2.67; $2.67; $2.63; and $2.64. l

One of the Christmas songs that we used to sing at school during the weeks leading up to Christmas was “Up on the House Top.” I don’t hear that one or “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” much any more. I saw the music and words to “Up on the House Top” in one of my Christmas music books this week and thought you might like to remember the words. It goes:

Up on the house top reindeer pause; Out jumps good old Santa Claus Down through the chimney with lots of toys, All for the little ones’ Christmas joys.

First comes the stocking of little Nell; Oh, dear Santa, fill it well; Give her a dolly that laughs and cries, One that can open and shut its eyes.

Look in the stocking of little Bill; Oh, just see that glorious fill! Here is a hammer and lots of tacks, Whistle and ball and a set of jacks.

Ho, ho, ho, who wouldn’t go? Ho, ho, ho, who wouldn’t go? Up on the house top, click, click,

click, Down through the chimney with good Saint Nick.

An article in The News-Reporter by Janet Harville Standard in the 1980s expressed special Christmas wishes to the following people. Most of you will remember all of them. There were also others:

“To Henry Wall, Wood Hardy, and the other city electricians for the lovely, fairyland lights with which they beautify our square every Christmas. For almost 30 years these lights have brought a warm glow of the traditional performance and special joy of the Christmas spirit to Washington and the travelers who pass our way. … To the Tom C. Thornton family for the happy, little-town friendliness which makes all comers like to stop in and remember for a moment all the neighborhood grocers of childhood whose stores with their smell of coffee, spices, potato barrels and kerosene pumps were a delicious part of growing up. … To Mayor Ed Pope and the city council, our sincere thanks for the new City Hall which does such a credit to our town with its tasteful and elegant appointments. … For our new water works, and for the splendid, efficient, economical way it is operated. … To Mary Fanny and Bennie Rautenberg (Lincolnton Road) for the gay lift which their red front door brings and for the enjoyment which all motorists receive from the airy grace of the white grillwork and the inviting little white gate. … To the homesick citizen who wrote long ago, ‘Whatever way one travels away from Washington-Wilkes, one travels downhill.’ He said it all.”

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