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Hobart and the Christmas present

By Phillip Coffey

I think the most rewarding Christmas present for me occurred within 'striking distance' of 1970. One of the most interesting people/characters I have ever known in my lifetime was Hobert Keltner.

He stood alone in his wooden shingled shelter.

Hobert lived about halfway between Keltner and Portland. His farm joined one of Dad's farms -"Foxwaller" ("Foxwallow"). Hobert's house was completely forested for about a hundred yards of it, a great distance in every direction.

He feared dogs, fire, and communicable diseases like no other.

I rode horses or walked to his house on numerous occasions.

We would go inside into his house where he would have no light except one small 'window light'.

No amenities of indoor plumbing or electricity.

He would crank up one of his Victrola's and we would sit for perhaps hours, or until I 'up and left' to reach home before dark, and listen to 'fiddle music'.

He would slap his leg and then always say, "What do you think about that one?" I would always say. "That is a good one, Hobert."

On one occasion I walked the three miles or so to his residence. It was close to Christmas. I toted a Christmas present on my pilgrimage.

It was a pair of warm socks. I handed them to him soon after arriving and said, "Merry Christmas". His face beamed with delight and then his demeanor changed and he said, "I have nothing for you." I responded, "I don't want anything from you."

This may be my most memorable Christmas I have ever had. If it isn't - it made the list.

This story was posted on 2020-12-13 05:51:52
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