A Texas Christmas Story
A very special Christmas Story that was sent in to me by Traces of Texas reader Steve Eberhart. Says Steve:
"In November 1957, my Dad was killed in the line of duty in the U.S. Army in Hawaii.
At the time, our family was living in my Mom's hometown of Macon, Georgia.
My Mom, Annie Ruth, gathered everyone and traveled to Texas to bury my Dad in his hometown of Muenster, Texas.
As she had done on occasions before, sometimes for a year or more at a time, she stayed with my Dad's sister, Elvira Flusche and her family in Lindsay, Texas.
There was a wait for the body to arrive from Hawaii and the funeral was finally held in early December.
In the days and weeks after his death, my Mom dealt not only with his death, relocation to Texas, the funeral, dealing with the Army over benefits and insurance issues and such.
With the funeral behind them and 2 weeks to go until Christmas, Annie Ruth and Elvira realized the insurance and benefits would not likely arrive before Christmas and with essentially no money left after traveling and the funeral, they did not know how they were going to make Christmas happen for the 7 children of Annie Ruth and Bill's.
Elvira convinced Annie Ruth to go to the local bank, The First State Bank in nearby Gainesville, and get a small, short term loan which she could pay back once the benefits arrived hopefully in a few weeks.
She agreed and they drove to the bank.
Annie Ruth went in to see the local banker, Claude Jones. She explained the situation of having just lost her husband, an Army man, their shortage of funds, the insurance and benefits which should be forthcoming and their immediate need to provide for Christmas for her 7 children.
Mr. Jones listened and finally said, "let me look at this a little further and we will get back to you".
With that Annie Ruth left the office and joined Elvira in the lobby of the bank. As they walked out of the bank, Annie Ruth was in tears telling Elvira that he said he would get back to her, which she apparently assumed was a "no" to her request.
Upset, the two of them returned to Elvira's farm home north of Lindsay where they agreed they would just have to do the best they could and things would be better next Christmas.
For Annie Ruth it was almost too much to handle, she had lost her husband, she had no job, no income or money, she had 7 children to raise ranging from age 3 months (me) to 10 years and now had literally nothing for them for Christmas.
A few hours later that afternoon, a large station wagon car pulled up to the farmhouse yard. Annie Ruth and Elvira went out to the front porch to see who arrived.
The man stepped out of the car and they noticed it was the man from the bank, Mr. Claude Jones. The back of the car was full of toys, clothes, food items, essentially everything needed for Christmas. Unsure of what was going on, Annie Ruth asked him,
"Mr. Jones, what is this?"
He stepped over to her, hugged her and said, "Mrs. Eberhart, you're not going to need a loan and you're not going to need to worry about Christmas, it's all taken care of."
This is a true story, and THAT, was our first Christmas in Texas in December, 1957.
I never knew of this story as a child but was told of it a few years ago. I checked it out and it is all true.
I also found out Mr. Jones was as generous to many others around the Cooke County community over the years.
I never met Mr. Jones, but I sure wish I had."
Thank you so much for sharing this, Steve. It did my poor old Texas heart good. I need stories like this one more than ever after the crazy year we've endured!
Beauty is only skin deep but Texas is to the bone.