Everyone has memories of some of the gifts they received for Christmas when they were growing up . . . gifts that were great . . . and gifts that were not so great. Here are some of the Christmas gifts that I remember.
1952 (age 4) . . . I received a toy capgun, holster and belt and a cowboy hat, and I wore these every day for months!
1953 (age 5) . . . I desperately wanted a Captain Hook boat with toy pirates. I was elated when I received it and jumped for joy . . . but I played with it for about an hour and decided it was boring.
1957 (age 9) . . . I received a pair of white buck shoes just like Pat Boone wore. Instead of shoe polish, I had to put some type of powder on them to keep them looking white . . . what a mess!
1958 (age 10) . . . I received my first B-B rifle . . . Hooray! It did not take me long to shoot out all of the glass bulbs on the barn lightning rods . . . and the kitchen window.
1959 (age 11) . . . My brother and I wrote out an extensive Christmas wish list from a catalog. The total was around $500. On Christmas morning, I received a baseball, a pair of socks, a velour shirt and a tube of Brylcreem hair tonic. Not a good year for farm profits I assume.
1960 (age 12) . . . My best friend received a Gilbert chemistry set. At his house we experimented and made sulfur dioxide. His house smelled like rotten eggs for several days.
1961 (age 13) . . . I received a new Spaulding baseball mitt and a Milwaukee Braves baseball hat . . . my best presents ever!
1962 (age 14) . . . My mother told me that my Grandpa Grimes had got me something really special this year. I was pretty excited until I opened the package . . . a pair of cufflinks and a tie clasp . . . I was not too enthused, but I acted like they were great.
I think that most of you would agree that today the Christmas season has become too commercialized. Some children today receive more presents on Christmas day than I received in the entire 17 years I spent at home before heading off to college. My Dad told me that as a child, he received ONE present each Christmas. One year he was elated when he received a large rubber ball. He threw it to his older brother, who tossed it back . . . but it landed on the stove and melted. Dad had his present almost two minutes.
Nowadays the best present for me is having everyone in our family healthy and happy. But some ordinary presents do stick out in my memory . . . I still wear a Milwaukee Braves baseball hat today!

John "Butch" Dale is a retired teacher and County Sheriff. He has also been the librarian at Darlington the past 30 years, and is a well-known artist and author of local history.