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My favorite Christmas Story.

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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-21-07 08:15 AM
Original message
My favorite Christmas Story.
Every year on Vermont Public Radio, Willem Lange, an amazing story teller from Etna, NH, tells the story of Favor Johnson, an old hardscrabble hill farmer, his dog Hercules, the flatlander doctor and how Favor came to bake fruitcake in cans for everybody in the village. It brings tears to my eyes every damned year, so I wanted to share it. Here's the beginning. You can hear the entire story at the link. Merry Christmas.

"Snow was falling softly past the street lamps in the village, muffling the sounds of the occasional car and the rattle of the brook down behind the post office and the general store. It was just past suppertime, and folks were settled in for the evening. From almost every chimney, smoke drifted up through the falling snow. A few houses were hung with wreaths and colored lights around the front doors. Through the front windows gleamed lights on Christmas trees."

"Just after seven o'clock, a pair of shaky headlights came slowly down the Three Mile Road, and an old blue pickup truck puttered into the light of the street lamps. The truck stopped at the first house. A man in overalls and rubber boots got out, reached back into the front seat for a small package, and trudged up through the snow to the kitchen door of the house. He knocked, the door opened, and he went inside. A few minutes later he came back out again, with the sound of voices following him. "Merry Christmas!" someone called, and he waved."

"He got back into his truck, drove to the next house, and repeated the routine. Then to the next, and the next, all the way down through the village. At some houses he stopped briefly, at others quite a few minutes. Shortly after ten, having visited them all, he turned the old truck around, drove back up through the village, and disappeared into the night, his single red taillight glowing dimly through the snow. Favor Johnson had delivered his Christmas presents again."

"In every house where he'd stopped, there was now a small cylindrical package wrapped in aluminum foil and decorated with the Christmas seals that come in the mail. When these packages were unwrapped later, they would reveal tin cans with one end removed and a fruitcake baked inside. For single folks and couples, it was a soup can; for families of up to five, a vegetable can; and for larger establishments, a tomato can--all of them full to the brim with the most succulent fruitcake you could imagine. Mixed up with homemade butter and studded with hickory nuts, candied cherries and pineapple, citron, raisins, and currants, it was flavored with Favor's own hard cider. Parents often would use that as an excuse to keep kids from eating more than their share of it."

"Where old Favor had paused only momentarily or gone only as far as the doorstep, there remained the scuff marks of his boots in the snow, where he'd shuffled his feet nervously. But where he'd gone inside and chatted, or perhaps shared a bit of cheer, the distinctive odor of cow barn lingered faintly in the air, a further reminder of who had brought the foil-wrapped package for which each family was already making its special plans. An always some child would ask, "Why did Mr. Johnson bring us a fruitcake?"

"Well," a mother or father would answer, "it's just his way of saying 'Merry Christmas.'"

"Does he do it every year?"


"Does he take one to everybody in the village?"


"Has he always done it?"

Well no he hadn't. And so the story of Favor Johnson and the flatlander doctor and the origin of the fruitcake would be told again.
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Uben Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-21-07 08:49 AM
Response to Original message
1. Thanks
I enjoyed it!
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-21-07 08:52 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. You're welcome.
Glad you enjoyed it. For me, it wouldn't be Christmas without Willem Lange's telling the story of Favor Johnson and Hercules.
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a kennedy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-21-07 09:01 AM
Response to Original message
3. Thank you for sharing.....
brought tears to my eyes.....
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-21-07 09:23 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. I'm such a sap, it's been bringing tears to my eyes for a decade.
Thanks for taking the time to listen to Willem's story.
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Geoff R. Casavant Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-21-07 04:32 PM
Response to Original message
5. I've bookmarked to listen to later, but my favorite . . .
. . . NPR Christmas story no longer gets played -- it starts with a trucker picking up a boy walking in the snow to show his friends the orange he got for Christmas. The story is about the poor white family sharing their handouts with the even poorer black family that wasn't permitted to go to town to get the charity Christmas offerings.
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Suich Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-21-07 05:27 PM
Response to Original message
6. What a neat story!
I got a little teary...thanks for posting this!

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