Below is a story my cousin Joe tells every now and then. Joe is actually my mom’s first cousin; my grandmother and his mom were sisters.
Joe is a memory keeper and a story teller. And he’s a good man.
My written words won’t allow you to hear the warm southern comfort of his voice, nor will they reveal the mischievous twinkle of his eyes as he retells this story of a time gone by. But I hope you see the heart of a little boy, a poor boy… who was pained by the great sadness and mourning he witnessed all around him. He asked himself what he could do to bring cheer to his friends. He figured it out, the answer to his own question, and set out to make it happen.
The world needs more Joes.
Merry Christmas 🎄
“On November 22 1963, I was 10 years old and went to Canton Elementary School (Canton, Georgia). I was in Mrs. Elizabeth Johnston’s 3rd grade class.
On that day, I walked home for lunch, for I lived on Hill Street in downtown Canton, about 300 feet from school.
When I got home there was a news bulletin on the TV that John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas,Texas. I ran back to the school and told Mrs. Johnston. She went to the other teachers and found out that it was true. All of the teachers were crying in the hallway. The following days, through the time of the funeral, and even into December, there was so much sadness. And I wanted to cheer everyone up. So I thought to myself, “what would make me happy?”
The answer was “a baby chicken”!
I lived just up the hill from Gold Kist Poultry. So I went to work collecting every Coca Cola bottle I could find around the “chicken plant” (Gold Kist), and sold them at Mr. Frongberger’s store, which was down the hill from the school as well. Not far from Gold Kist. I went strait to the hatchery with my bottle money, and knocked on the big door of the plant. The door opened and there stood two men. One of the men asked, “can I help you son?”.
I said, “I want to buy some baby chicks!” One of the men said, “we don’t sell to the public!”
I lowered my head, and when I did, the other man asked, “what are you going to do with the chicks?”
I told him that I wanted to give everyone in my class a present for Christmas.
He turned to the other man and said, “get the chicks for him”. When they give them to me, I handed the money to him. But he said, “keep the money, those chicks are free”.
The next day at school was our class Christmas party. And when I brought those baby chicks into the room, I saw that I was right, they liked baby chicks just as much as I did!
Jenny Holbrook put me in the school paper and titled her article, Joe and The Christmas Chicks.
I found out that day, how special giving is.
PS … by 6pm that same day, I got most of the chicks returned back to me.”🐥
Joe’s other Christmas Chicks, his beautiful daughters.