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CHRISTMAS AS I KNEW IT (John R. Cash / Jan Howard) Johnny Cash - 1963 One day near Christmas, when I was just a child Mama called us together and Mama tried to smile She said, "You know the cotton crop hasn't been too good this year There's just no spending money and, well, at least we're all here I hope you won't expect a lot of Christmas presents Just be thankful that there is plenty to eat That's quite a blessing that'll make things a little more pleasant" And us kids got to thinking how really blessed we were At least we were all healthy and best of all, we had her Roy cut down a pigapple tree and we drug it home, Jack and me Daddy killed a squirrel and Louise made the bread Reba decorated the tree with popcorn strings before we went to bed Mama and Daddy sacrificed 'cause this Christmas was lean But after all there was the babies, Tom and Joanne, babies need a few things I whittled a whistle for my brother Jack and though we fought now and then When I gave Jack that whistle, he knew I thought the world of him Mama made the girl's dresses out of flower sacks And when she ironed them down, you couldn't tell that they hadn't come from town A sharecropped family across the road didn't have it as good as us They didn't even have a light and it was way past dusk And mama said, "Well I bet they don't even have coal oil or beans to boil A log, apples, oranges and such" Me and Jack took a jar of coal oil and some hickernuts we'd found We walked to the sharecropper's porch and set 'em down A poor old ragged lady eased open the door She picked up the coal oil and hickernuts and said "I sure do thank ye", and quickly closed the door We started back home, me and Jack And about halfway we stopped looked back And in the sharecropper's window at last was a light So for one of the neighbors and for us it was a good Christmas night Christmas came and Christmas went Christmas that year was heaven sent Then daddy put on his gumboots And waited for the thaw back home in Dyess, Arkansas


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