Christmas @ Poor Boys

Billy B.’s mother was insistent that she was not going to make a Christmas dinner that year…1969!  She proclaimed that she worked like a dog each Christmas to bring off a luxurious dinner and that this year…they were going out to eat!  Now, Demetrius, Billy’s step-father knew that there were no restaurant open on Christmas day, especially in the 1960’s!  He attempted to reason with Jane and assure her that they would be without dinner…if they did not make a dinner or if they were not invited to a Holiday feast.

Billy’s mom was dedicated to the proposition that she could not be bothered or troubled from Thanksgiving Day until Christmas Day…as there was simply to much work to be done in preparation for the yuletide revelers!  She hosted the annual Santa Claus extravaganza each year and her sisters, Vema and Guelda and Wanda attended…but not her brother Gene, who she called Fetch, because he was a Jehovah’s Witness.  Also, Demetrius family of; Little Granny, who was Mike’s mother, and Murph, who was Mike’s brother, and Tressie, who was Demetrius’s mom.  Also, cousin Bill and cousin Brenda, Wanda and uncle Bill Hayes, children, also attended.

The primary meat of the feast was crock pot roast…that was the most delicious roast that you ever have placed in your mouth!  There would be Jane’s holiday coffee cake…as well….and it was to die for!  There were mashed potatoes and stove top dressing and hot cross buns and broccoli casserole and iced tea and coffee to drink…as this was pre knowledge that we would not die and enter Hell for drinking wine!

cooked food on a serving plate
Photo by Robert Scherzer on

Vema, upon entering the Bump home would immediately withdraw a cigarette from her pack of Salem cigarettes that were ensconced in her purse and subsequently light it and begin to draw manically from it’s abundance of nicotine and tobacco goodness!  Then she would announce that she and Ed, her rich Stonewort farmer husband, must leave in time to drive home before darkness fell…as they did not see well after dark.

Guelda would enter the Bump home as a Jewish grandmother and taste the food and inquire as to our health and assure her baby sister that she had nothing to be worried about as everything was exceptional!

When Mike and Tressie arrived….Mike assured Jane that she had accomplished the best Christmas ever…and that she was to be commended!  Murph, Mike’s brother, proclaimed that the Holiday feast was such an improvement over his usual lunch and dinner of hamburgers from Mr. Hamburger, which was a hamburger joint next to the old folks apartment that he resided in!

Wanda was grateful for anything that Jane, her baby sister and her favorite sibling, did…and Jane knew it!

Little Granny was beloved by Jane!  She was Demetrius grandmother, Mike’s mom, and she was delightful!  She had lived much of her life in the 19th century and she said whatever was on her mind…she was a true feminist!

But, Jane, had chosen to lay all of the regular holiday party excitement aside for a dinner out at Two Tony’s in either West Frankfort or in Carmi, Illinois.  And, so, the Bump’s began traveling early on the morning of Christmas Day!

Not only were both Two Tony’s Smorgasbords shuttered for the big day….but there was not a hamburger joint nor a hot dog stand or a bagel kiosk open for Christmas traffic.

Finally, the Bumps drove by Poor Boys Supermarket in Harrisburg, Illinois…and they were open.  Demetrius quickly exited the automobile and went in to Poor Boys and purchased some ground chuck and some hamburger buns and some potato chips and the Christmas Dinner plans were set!

grocery cart with item
Photo by Oleg Magni on

As we were enjoying the Poor Boys hamburgers…Denny…Demetrius’s brother… telephoned and subsequently asked us to join he and his family for some Christmas evening holiday treats at his home in El Dorado.  When we entered Denny and Florence’s home…it was like a magical holiday world!  Before us was a majestic Christmas Tree and garland through out the home and Santa Claus and reindeers and the nativity!  There were cakes and cookies  and fudge and divinity and hard candy and soft candy….and candy that was in-between!

So, it was a Poor Boy’s Christmas….with some welcome assistance from Denny and family!

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