OK, It’s REALLY Christmas

Chocolate covered cherries 12-22-2014_5259
This has been a strange Christmas season. Even Mother, when I called her Sunday night, said she’s having a heard time getting into the spirit of the times despite having her Christmas decorations up.

Maybe we’ve all been traveling so much lately that we’re needing recharging more than celebrating.

Still, Wife Lila came home from shopping today with something that convinced me that it really IS Christmas. She gave me two boxes of chocolate-covered cherries. I’ve associated those with Christmas ever since I was a kid.

One thing for sure: a chocolate-covered cherry can find a cavity faster than a dentist with a fresh x-ray. After I finished off the cherry that sacrificed its life for art, I was glad to report that I am cavity-free.

You can click on the photo to make it large enough to make your teeth hurt.

Archie Smiley’s Family Christmas

Archie Smiley family at Christmas 12-24-1966The Christmas Eve Missourian caption reads¬† “It’s Great to be Home! ‘Especially for Christmas’ was the comment of Archie T. Smiley, 49, of 903 South Pacific, who recently won his battle for life following open heart surgery in Barnes Hospital in St. Louis. Here, Mr. Smiley decorates the Christmas tree in his home with the help of his wife and children. From left, standing, they are Thomas Wayne (Butch), Beverly Ann, Mrs. Smiley, Mr. Smiley and Theresa Lynn. Sheila Kay is seated on the floor.” (You can click on the photo to make it larger.)

I had heard of Mr. Smiley before, but didn’t remember shooting his photo or much about his story except that he had lost his hands and that he ran a bicycle repair shop. The 1966 story, which unfortunately has big chunks of type missing in key places, said that his hands were injured in a fireworks accident. Gunpowder entered his bloodstream after the explosion and caused blood poisoning. He was in the hospital on his graduation day, the story said, and the Chaffee High School principal “took him his diploma early for fear the lad might not live” to accept it later.

Stories mentioned that he played football in high school, repaired bicycles in a shop located in his home, drove a car and “managed handwriting better than most persons do with two hands.”

Lots of news for a nickel on July 5, 1928

While looking for the original account of the 4th of July accident, I stumbled across these stories in the July 5, 1928, Missourian. You sure got your nickel’s worth THAT day.

Community rallies for Smiley

Archie Smiley family at Christmas 12-24-1966

When Smiley needed heart surgery and family resources ran low, friends and strangers from all over the world started sending money. By Christmas Eve, the family had received about $2,200. His operation was to install a heart valve in a plastic cage inside his chest, said the story by Skeets Sonderman.

“Not only will this help pay my expenses, but now my family can have a nice Christmas. The children, however, will get mostly clothes and useful items. There will be toys for the younger ones, too,” he said.