24 December 2010

"Instant Crismus"

Pierre McGowan tells a humorous little Christmas tale in Gullah Mailman that is apropos for today:

One Christmas Eve my father was standing on the sidewalk on Bay Street in front of Hugh Gray's Liquor Store talking to Mr. Gray. A black man from St. Helena Island came out of the store with a pint of whiskey he had just purchased from the clerk inside. He placed the bottle under his arm while he paused to light a cigarette, and in doing so he dropped the bottle, which smashed when it hit the concrete pavement. Not a word was spoken as the three men watched the whiskey trickling toward the gutter. Finally, when the black man realized that others were aware of this tragedy, he looked up and exclaimed, "Grate Gawd, wite folks, Crismus dun cum and gone."

I wonder if Mr. McGowan or Mr. Gray had enough Christmas spirit left to share with the man whose spirit "dun cum and gone?"

Pierre McGowan has published two memoirs, The Gullah Mailman and Tales of the Barrier Islands of Beaufort County, South Carolina. Both books are available through the local history sections at our branch libraries.

A short note about our holiday schedule:

All Beaufort County Library branches are closed today and Christmas Day.

From Sunday, December 26th through Thursday, December 30th all branches will observe regular hours of operation.

Beaufort County government offices, including all departments of the Beaufort County Library will be closed Friday, December 31st and Saturday, Jan. 1st.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.


Gary McGraw said...

This is a true story. Hugh Gray was my grandfather! Except the way I heard it, the old black gentleman slipped the newly purchased pint into his coat pocket and it fell through a hole and smashed on the ground... and yes, he did look up and say, Christmas dun come and gone.."

I thought I was the only one who knew this story!... and yes, my grandfather gave him another pint!

Grace Cordial said...

Thank you, Gary, for the update. And I am glad that your grandfather added spirit to the holiday! (Poor pun, intended).