Christmas in a TX Panhandle Dugout, 1881
Mrs. C. W. Jones, in talking about Christmas days long ago, remarked that in 1881 the Panhandle was very sparsely settled. houses and families being few and far between. Dugouts were then common and on this particular Christmas the people gathered in the biggest dugout in the neighborhood for their celebration, the place belonging to Joe Browning, a well known citizen of Dickens county. The tree was a Chinaberry full of yellow balls, the balls gleaming like gold amid the white cotton trimming of the tree. In addition wreaths were made from algerita bushes, the green adding a pretty finishing touch to the festive scene. On the tree were all the gifts that were favorites of years ago. Dolls of all kinds and toys for the little girls and red topped boots with brass toes and other things equally liked for the boys. Relatives had sent Mrs. Jones then about seven years old, a big wax doll and she was very happy in its possession. Mr. Browning did the shopping for the neighborhood, making the trip to Colorado City to supply the needed articles. There were but six children to enjoy the tree and the treats, but the little folks had a good time and so did the older folks. A big dance was also held at the Matador ranch. As wild game was plentiful in those long ago days, Christmas dinner was bountiful and turkeys were not in demand.—
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