My most memorable Christmas

What are some of your favorite Christmas memories? Stop and think about it. Several come to mind for me and as one might guess, they were mostly when I was a child.

My childhood was an idyllic one growing up in the 1950s in a small town out in Montana. It was an era when little boys were captivated by western movies and cowboy heroes and I was no exception. Like Ralphie in the classic movie A Christmas Story I was infatuated with Red Ryder and longed for the day when I would be old enough to have a carbine action BB rifle. When I turned eight, to my mother’s dismay, my father actually gave me one. Unfortunately my first time out with it I shot someone in the thumb, but that is not a favorite memory so enough said.

When I was five, in the fall of the year, I entered a contest to name Red Ryder’s horse’s pony. I don’t remember what the grand prize was but I put my whole heart and soul into trying to come up with a unique name that I hoped would jump off the page when those judging the contest read it.

One night, as I was getting ready for bed it came to me, just out of the blue – Beldy. I was so excited. I called my mother into my bedroom and told her. My mother said “What?” And I said “Beldy.” “Oh,” she said, “are you sure?” “Yup” I said. And Beldy it was.

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