In 1955 I was eight years old and lived in the small town of Cahoes, New York. Cohoes is about 9 miles north of Albany and is located where the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers meet. I lived there with my parents and two sisters and had 36 first cousins living within a 2 mile area.
The main entertainment for young boys at the time was to emulate the TV shows that we could watch on a small 9-inch, black-and-white TV. Those shows were primarily cowboy shows and featured Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, the Lone Ranger and his trusted sidekick, Tonto and the singing cowboy, Gene Autry. Because they were my heroes, I wanted to have a toy gun and holster so I could play Cowboys. My parents were going to get me that for Christmas, but I had asked to complete my outfit for a pair of cowboy boots. My grandfather, who was in his 70’s, lived about a half mile from my house and heard of my request, and even though he couldn’t drive wanted to go to a store to get the boots at the only store which was a Kresges which was located about 2 miles away. Winters were particularly cold and snowy, but my grandfather was bound and determined to get the boots for my Christmas present. He walked the entire trip and got the boots on Christmas Eve so he could give them to me on Christmas Day.
The toy guns and holster would eventually be replaced by other interests and I would eventually outgrow the cowboy boots. But what I would never forget and is my most enduring Christmas memory is the fact that my grandfather was willing to walk in the snow in the cold, so that he could fulfill a young boy’s Christmas dream. No matter how old you are and how long it’s been, you can never forget a Christmas like that.