Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus
Santa Claus brought me this John Deere tractor and trailer for Christmas in 1952. The trailer was built by my father, Roy Colyer, and a friend of his, Elmer Kiker. My father passed away in 1989 and Elmer was killed in an automobile accident in 1956.
My parents lived in a small, 3-room house in 1952. When Santa came on Christmas Eve, he jumped on the porch and started to "ho ho ho" and stomp on the porch something terrible. I was scared to death. My mother, knowing who Santa was, thought he was going to tear the porch down.
My best friend, Bob Purgason, and I wore out three sets of rear tires on the tractor. We would haul feed from the country store that my father and uncle owned to my father's barn. One of us would get on the tractor and the other would push the tractor and trailer, with the feed in the trailer.
The tractor and trailer sat for more than 40 years in my parents' basement until I decided to have them restored. The front wheels, spindle and trailer hitch on the tractor were broken off, the seat was broken, the bushings on the rear wheels were all bad and the pedals were missing. The trailer was in fairly good shape.
The tractor was shipped to James B. O'Shea in Binghamton, N.Y., to be restored. It was shipped back to David Wells in Greeneville, Tenn., to be painted. I restored and painted the trailer myself.
By the way, guess who Santa Claus was. It was Elmer Kiker, the friend who helped my father build the trailer. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus: That's what makes Christmas memories. My only regret is not restoring the tractor and trailer before my father passed away. He probably would have been as proud to see it as I was on Christmas Eve in 1952.
Ronnie Colyer, Mosheim, Tenn.