December 15th, 2017 by Gary Osberg

Ten days until Christmas. I have all of my shopping done and now I simply have to pace myself on the cookies and candy.
Children love Christmas, as well they should. As with most families, some years, Christmas gifts were easy to come by and some years the budget would not allow for much. The Christmas of 1956 was a memorable one for me. My mother had to move from our home in St. Louis Park due to Dad’s inability to handle alcohol. Her mother, Grandma Ramlo, drove her 1952 Chevy from Upsala to St. Louis Park, put Dad in the back seat and drove him to the VA Hospital in south Minneapolis. She told them, “He is a veteran, he is a drunk and he is now your problem, not mine”.

She took us all back to Upsala to live above Ramlo Grocery in Upsala. I am not sure what the reason was for our ending up living in an apartment in Little Falls in December. It had something to do with getting financial aid.

That Christmas, Santa brought us six big Tonka Toy 18 wheel trucks. There was a cattle truck, an oil tanker, a freight truck and three more. This was a perfect gift for a family with five boys. I am not sure what my sister Kathie got that year. For many years I had the impression that they were from some sort of social agency that served the poor. It turned out that “Santa” was Dewey Johnson, a classmate of my mother’s from the Upsala High School class of ’37. Dewey’s friend was one of the founders of Tonka Toys. Dewey had already passed on before I learned the “rest of the story”, so I never did have a chance to thank him. Perhaps you know of a family that has come upon hard times and they could use a “Secret Santa”.

Tomorrow I have a good chance to win a $24,000 Ice Castle. The Bowlus Fire Department is selling a limited number of raffle tickets. The drawing is at 3pm.
My grandson, Walleye Willie has already scored on a lake in Otter Tail County. Here is the link to the video.

The George Maurer Jazz Group will be performing their annual Christmas Show at The Paramount Theatre on Monday night at 7:30. I hope to see you there.

“Remember, it is not about having time. It’s about making time.” Erik Osberg

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