When I saw this December 1948 Field & Stream cover I was immediately reminded of the anticipation and thrill I felt as a young boy when each Christmas rolled around. When we are small children it feels like an eternity from one Christmas to the next. As we get older, time seems to compress. This trend, I am told by folks in their 90's, continues through out life no matter how long we live. Just today I got out the ladder and climbed up into the loft over my garage and carried down those heavy storage bins full of Christmas decorations. Heck -- seems like I just put them away! When I was three years old I thought Winter would never end so I could go outside again. This slow passage of time must explain why as young children we feel that we are going to live forever.
My favorite Christmas memories are the ones when I was a child and those when my own children were small. The anticipation of a particular, desired gift became almost too much to bear. I am reminded of the boy "Ralphie" in the movie The Christmas Story who fantasizes for weeks about the possibility of a “Red Rider BB Gun” being under the tree. For my own boys, now 40 and 39 years old, it was “Star Wars” items that they dreamed about. For myself, it was hunting and fishing items like the boy on this cover. I still remember the thrill of different Christmas days when I received a hunting jacket, a fishing reel or other outdoor treasure. My folks were not hunters or fishermen, but they understood my passion for these hobbies and tried to indulge them. I had an Uncle Bert in Pennsylvania who understood my world and always seemed to come up with a perfect gift. At age 14 he sent me two plugs, a Jitterbug and a Dalton Special. I had never seen or heard of a Dalton Special but he assured me in a note that it had a reputation as a hot lure in Florida where he spent his winters. A bass took the Dalton Special, I still have that Jitterbug.
I'll be 69 in just a few days but these Christmas memories are still strong and still bring warm feelings. The purpose of this Christmas message is to hopefully awaken pleasant Christmas memories in each of you and encourage you to provide your children, your grandchildren or less fortunate children in your neighborhood memories that will stay with them in years to come. May the “Prince of Peace” be with you and your family.
Merry Christmas to All!
-- Wild Bill