Christmas Time Shopping
Christmas time was an exciting time as I was growing up in West Carroll Parish, Louisiana. We lived in rural West Carroll where my father was a farmer, and grew the vegetables and raised the meat to provide for our family. There were eight of us children; so, there was plenty of help for daddy to use around the farm. My mother was a homemaker. She took care of the household chores and cooking. Mother was a very good cook and passed down this talent to her daughters. With our family of ten, the gifts were few but we always had a plentiful supply of good, home-cooked food to eat. Our goodies from Santa on Christmas morning was a pile of fruit, nuts, and peppermint candy for each child. Our goodies were always neatly piled there for us.
Mother and Daddy shopped once a month for the basic staples and any other goods they needed to replenish. They shopped Terry’s Grocery that was a “mom and pop” store in Terry, West Carroll Parish. There trip to the store was on Saturdays. On occasion Mother made a trip to the Five and Dime in Oak Grove. Mother made all the girls clothes. She saved her flour sacks until she had enough to make one of us a dress. That was the era where women and girls wore dresses. She also quilted her own quilts and bed covers so she would need supplies periodically for quilting. At the Five and Dime Store Mother purchased sewing supplies or any other goods such as material, lingerie, or hair products such as a comb or brush. The Five and Dime was the only name that I knew for that store. That’s the name Mother gave it so that is the name that I called it.
The groceries and supplies that were purchased during the monthly trip to Terry’s had to last until the next month’s trip. Very rarely was there another trip made to the store. Once a year at Christmas time there was the big event to celebrate – Santa coming to town. There was a parade in Oak Grove and Sana came in on his horse drawn wagon pulled by a team of horses. The children were given croker (burlap) sacks full of goodies such as fruit and nuts. That was the biggest event of the Christmas season – getting to go see Santa.
In November, there were extra special items added to Mother’s shopping list. She had an heirloom fruitcake recipe and she made it for Christmas every year, so she bought the ingredients needed for her fruitcake. Also, she had a fruit salad that she made so she bought the ingredients for her fruit salad. My family’s favorite holiday dessert was the no bake fruit cake. Mother made the cake in November for the flavors to soak through the cake and froze it until time to serve with the Christmas dinner.
Mother and Daddy made the monthly shopping trip to the grocery store once a month until Daddy gave up farming and they moved from West Carroll Parish in 1959. Even after the eight children were married and moved away Mother and Daddy continued to grow their own vegetables. They were farmers at heart and just couldn’t give it up.
Christmas at Unionville Colvin and Jones Store a small country
community store in Lincoln Parish. Garland Jones, Sr. Jimmy Jones, and
Ruth Colvin Jones inside the Colvin and Jones Grocery Store. Photo was taken