Days Gone Bye: The Christmas Coat Revisited One More Time

Published 9:00 am Sunday, December 24, 2023

By Tom Boggs

Well, since I’m mostly using retreaded columns these days, I figure I might oughter rewrite about that Christmas coat one more go round.  

              As usual, back in 1957, Ma, Daddy, Billy, and I headed up to visit the kin folks in Selma on Christmas day.  Big bunch of Boggs folks were gathered up at Aunt Sassy’s, where Daddy made a big production of telling everybody about the new white coat he had bought Ma.  Truth of the matter is it probably was not all that much, but it was fuzzy and all, and folks kinda snickered a little bit at how Daddy carried on.

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              Well, Sir, that coat got laid across a chair in the front bedroom whilst the rest of the crew visited about the house.  Now, abiding in that house were four mischievous boy cousins name of Thomas and Billy Boggs and Ken and Jim Elliott.  I think little Joe Williams was present, but he was not as rambunctious as us other four.  Anyhow, we four would go out of our way for a good joke if the opportunity presented itself, and one did that day.

              Sassy had a bird dog by the name of Blondie, and Daddy had made it his business to scold Blondie ahead of time about getting too close to that new coat.  Now, Cousin Ken, who was the worst of the lot when it came to troublemaking, just happened to have one of those rubber make-believe pieces of dog do.  I’m talking ‘bout real looking.  Y’all know what comes next.  We slip in that room, slide the new coat down on the floor just a bit, plant that nasty looking blob on top of it, and holler out, “BLONDIE!  What have you done?”

              Well, here comes Daddy and the rest to check on the commotion, and when Big Tom sees the horrible deed that has been done on his pride and joy, there is no stopping him from taking charge.  First, he glares at Blondie, and that pore dog looks as forlorn as an old droopy-eyed Basset Hound.  Next, he pushes the crowd out of the way, fetches him a piece of cardboard and a stick, and commences to clean up that mess.

              I never will forget the look of triumph on that man’s face when he managed to scoop up the poop without leaving a single trace of it on Ma’s new white garment, and the whole time the kinfolks were just about falling over from laughing since most of ‘em had been let in on the joke.

              As the master scooper got close to the commode with his cargo, we boys were trying to stop him and explain, in between belly laughs, that it was not real, but the old man would have no part of that.  He had a job to complete, and by gum, he was gonner finish it.

              Ken attempted to reach around his uncle to save his rubber poo, only to get rudely pushed aside by the man with a mission on his mind.  Just as the toilet flushed, Ken managed to slip under Big Tom’s arm, reach down in that murky water, and retrieve his prize, all to the amazement of the hero who had carefully engineered the fantastic removal of the foreign substance, without leaving so much as the hint of a smudge or even a foul odor on the coat.

              “Great Caesar’s Ghost, Ken, what are you doing?” Exclaimed our hero, and by that time, the whole house was rocking with laughter, and finally….finally, the main man caught on, looked a little sheepish and somewhat stern for a moment but then did permit himself a little chuckle, acknowledging that he would be a good sport about being the brunt of a daggum pretty funny holiday practical joke, but his next destination was naturally back to that bedroom, just to make sure all was well with the new Christmas coat.

              Now, that remembrance always puts me in the mood to remind you good readers to laugh when you can and to have yourselves a Merry Little Christmas Day.