Growing up in the small town of Harlan, Kentucky I am sure I missed out on a lot of the big city lights and sights. We were not very well off, but we had all that we needed and some of what we wanted. It was not unusual to receive a winter coat or a pair of rubber boots for a Christmas present. We would also receive at least one or two gifts from Santa that we had asked, no, for which we had begged.
I was one of three children and the youngest. My sister 2 ½ years my senior and our brother 2 ½ years older than she. We lived in a small two bedroom/one bath home in a place called Sunshine Addition on the outskirts of Harlan. My parent’s bedroom was the dining room near the coal stove, my sister had her own bedroom, and my brother and I had a double bed we occupied together.
I remember one Christmas; I had been begging for a tricycle and had banked all my hopes and prayers on that tricycle. I knew I had to get it because, well, my life depended on it. If Santa was so cruel as to not produce the three-wheeler, then Santa would for sure be dead to me.
My brother and I were in bed early that Christmas eve and we turned on a flashlight to organize the attack plan. Remember he was 5 years older than I and I was only 5 or 6. I am sure he already knew the true secrets of Christmas but placated me. We decided in the morning we would rush the living room where the fresh cedar tree stood. We finally fell asleep in the wee hours out of shear exhaustion from all the mental stress of planning the event.
The time came…the anticipation was palpable. We threw off the covers and as planned rushed the tree…to my amazement, right there, right there in the middle of the room was the best looking three wheeled wonder, as blue as the sky. It had my name on it….MY NAME!
The next day I proudly drove my beautiful tricycle up and down the sidewalk. Then it happened. I discovered a fact about my new possession. One cannot take on a 90-degree turn, at any speed. I crashed and landed on my left shoulder and broke my collarbone.
It was a while before I climbed back on that beast, but I did, and I had learned the moral to this story. “Lean a bit more on the sharp turns.”
David B. Pope most recently authored a book entitled Red Lights and Beyond: Death, Dying and Destruction about his career as an EMP Captain with Fire-EMS, a flight paramedic with an Air Medical Trauma Service and as a Medicolegal Death Investigator with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The book will be available this Christmas on Amason, Barnes and Noble, and Books-A-Million. David is originally from Harlan, KY and has lived in several states from the west coast to the east. He is a member of Lake Writers as well as the SML Photo Club. He is now happily retired and lives at Smith Mountain Lake with Laura, his wife, and their cat Ellie.