Did I ever tell you about your Uncle Mil's Christmas? Well, Milford, he had a reputation around Lamar. Ever' one said he was work brickle. Wal' he warn't work brickle, he were more "boss brickle." See, when he was still a teenager his older brother get him a job on the railroad. Whut he done was he sat up with the switch engine in the yards, kept it stoked and the steam up durin' the night when it maybe warn't being used. Wal' it were a fine job, pay was good and the hours were reg'lar if'n you didn't mind sittin' in the cab a the donkey all night.
So anyways, one Monday night as he come to work his boss, Nick Cartee, you know Nick, married Sue Ann Sumter from over to Hasty, Nick come up and say, "Hey, Mil. This is your last week here. Hate to lose you, but the company is sendin' you to Dodge. You start over there next Monday. 'Course you hafta move over there, but ya get a bit more dough, and it's a move up. No tellin' how far you go with the company, Kid."
"Nuts to that," says Mil. "I quit right now. I ain't a leavin' Lamar."
"Now, wait, now. You got that firebox to keep up tonight. And besides, jobs don't grow on trees."
"Fire it yourself."
So then Mil find work at the mill. Mil at the mill. Har! Doin' pretty well, too, until his boss come around and give him a new assignment, and you might guess how that turn out. Boss brickle, like I say.
Anyways, Mil take a few days to redd up around his own place, get a load a stuff to haul off to the dump. He get to the dump and he see these trailers backin' in and thowin' off perfeckly good junk. And a light go off in his head, like in the funny papers. First thing you know, Mil is pickin' the place, stackin' stuff aside and haulin' hit home. Now he sorts stuff, repairs stuff, peddles stuff hither and yon and dreckly he is makin' a pile of money. Then, behol' one day he sees a scruffy bum poachin' on his territory, so to speak. Now Mil ain't one for confront-ation, so he goes off to town to see the mayor. Mayor Grubbs come up here from Oklahoma years ago, but that's another story. Next thing you know, Mil have a contract givin' him rights to whatsoever people thow off over to the dump. Now he is in business for sure, and no matter what folk say about him, he is workin' harder now than most anyone else in town, and the po-lice keepin' poachers out his territory!
Now kids around town make fun of Mil, you know, because he is always pickin' and not always in a bidness suit, you might say. You know how it goes, "Dirty Mil, dirty Mil, live on top a garbage hill." But Mil is shrewd, and he know which folk thow stuff out, and which ones never show up at his workplace.
Then a really cold and blustery Christmas Eve come along and ever'body stayin' cozy in they houses. But lo! On Christmas mornin' folk at twenty-five, thirty houses find the most wonderful collection a toys on they front steps. Santa done come, and no one saw hit happen. Well, there was some talk around town. But when the same thing happen again the next Christmas Eve, people really start to wonder who is blessin' them thisa way. It is fine for the kids to believe it is Santa, but we know better.
So on the next 24th a December, three, four a the guys make it up amongst theyselves to find out once and for all who the Secret Santa is. By postin' theyselves around town, keepin' a low profile, so to speak, Frank Chambers, you know Frank, has the weldin' shop back a the school? Frank finely 'bout 'leven o'clock spot Santa at work down on South 4th Street. Busted! Hit were Milford. Now whilst Mil was makin' his own livin' sortin' and sellin' rags and metal and all sort a junk, he was collectin' toys and takin' 'em home where he spend his evenin's repairin' and paintin' and makin' those toys just like new! And on Christmas Eve he was brightenin' the lives of a whole passel a kids who he know warn't likely to get much fer Christmas.
© 2013 David W. Lacy