By Jack Hackley
At my Methodist church, our former minister, Kate McClain, asked us during Advent each Sunday to tell our most memorable Christmas story.
I told the congregation I grew up in the church and when I was a child looked forward to Santa Claus giving each of us a bag of hard candy with an orange in it at the Christmas Eve service.
I couldn’t tell them about one Christmas Eve, which was spent at the Ranchhouse near Blue Springs. I was probably a senior in high school and almost my whole class was there.
The only problem this Christmas Eve, a bunch of Blue Springs kids also were there, and we didn’t get along too well. I had a $20 bill and a $1 bill, which was a lot of money considering a beer only cost 25 cents.
They had a great band. I walked up, put the dollar in their tip bowl, and requested a number. Later, when I went to pay for a beer, I only had a dollar bill in my pocket. I had tipped the band $20, a fortune back then. Maybe like $200 today.
As the night went on, the drummer asked if I wanted to play the drums, which I did. For $20, I could have bought the drums.
About midnight, I was talking to Gene Morris, an older brother of a classmate who could fight a buzz saw. A Blue Springs guy came up and said, “You’re the smart SOB who was playing the drums, aren’t you?” Gene said, “Who’s a smart SOB? And hit him in the mouth. A brawl broke out.
One of the Oak Grove girls ran up to me and said, “Jack, the police are out front.” We headed for the door. The sheriff’s deputy was walking in and said, “Where do you think you are going? I have called for the paddy wagon.”
About that time a beer bottle missed his head about four inches and hit the wall. He made a bee-line across the dance floor to the Blue Springs guy who threw it, and we headed home down 40 Highway at 12:30 a.m. Christmas Eve in my old Ford, with the girls in the back seat singing Christmas carols.
Kate, that was really my most memorable Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my readers.
Jack can be reached at PO Box 40, Oak Grove, MO 64075 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.jackremembers.com