Special to 0-A News
From Walter Albritton, Senior Pastor Trinity UMC
For Sunday, Dec. 27, 1998
When I was a child I loved to
visit the home of my mother's uncle, Dave Johnson. I suppose that
made him my "great" uncle, but I never called him that.
He was simply Uncle Dave, who lived with Aunt Pearl in a beautiful
home on a hill. We lived in a more modest home a few miles away
near a swamp, on river bottom land.
Though I never had the feeling
that we were a poor family, I did understand that Uncle Dave was
"rich," and he was an old man. He owed a lot of land
and his home was quite fancy, much nicer than ours. His home had
the first spiral stairway I had ever seen but he frowned when
we slid down the banister. I always enjoyed visiting Uncle Dave
because he loved children. He always had a couple of mechanical
toys hidden in his desk. He liked to surprise us by letting us
look at them while they performed. I can still hear him laughing
as we watched with the amazement of children a little clown or
some other toy dancing around on his coffee table. My favorite
was the monkey that walked around in a circle while beating on
Children were not allowed to
touch the toys. When Uncle Dave felt we had enjoyed them enough,
he would put them back in the safe haven of his great oak desk.
This, I would learn years later, was his way of insuring that
the toys would be available for the next child's visit. I did
not understand as a child why I was not allowed to play with the
toys. Now I understand. Imitating Uncle Dave, I have bought a
number of toys to use in amusing my own grandchildren. My favorite
for years has been a Santa Claus, which cost me the grand sum
of five dollars. Only Santa cannot enjoy his batter-powered walk
anymore. One of my grandsons broke off one of his feet, so all
Santa can do now is ring his little bell as his arms go back and
forth. I should have been as wise as Uncle Dave and kept old Santa
out of harm's way. It seems that some of the little rascals not
only enjoy seeing a toy move, they also enjoy fixing it so it
cannot ever move again.
When Uncle Dave's grand old
home burned, it was a sad day for me. It was not easy to drive
by and view the smoldering ashes of a home, which held so many
happy memories for me. I wondered if his toys, still hidden in
his oak desk, had also perished in the flames. How delightful
it would have been to take my grandchildren to visit Uncle Dave's
place. What stories I could tell them about his toys and my exciting
trips down that polished banister!But the old home and Uncle Dave
are gone. They are but fading memories of a childhood that seems
so long ago.
Still I am here, and there are
children aplenty. If I am willing I can take the time to surprise
them with a toy and create a sparkle in their eyes like Uncle
Dave did for me. But to do it I must be willing to stop being
a stuffy old adult long enough to see the world through a child's
My friend Bubba helps me do
that. Bubba, you see, is more than a talking bear; he is like
a member of the family now. Ever since I gave Bubba Bear to my
wife last Christmas, old Bubba has helped us entertain the grandchildren.
My wife never tires of squeezing Bubba's hand so she can hear
him talk. That just may be the best forty-five dollars I ever
spent. So I reckon as long as there are Bubba Bears and dancing
Santas to buy, we will keep on doing what we can to make the eyes
of little children- and grandmothers- sparkle with joy. Whatever
else the new year brings on, it remains true that a little fun
will help the medicine go down no matter your age.
Happy New Year!