Christmas at the Ranch
By Elmer Kelton
Foreword by Walt McDonald
Illustrations by H. C. Zachry
“We four Kelton boys were rich. It was not because we had money, for we didn’t. Money was always a short commodity in the 1930s and early 1940s. We were rich because we got to do for free what many people would have been glad to pay good money for, to live on a ranch with horses and cattle and cowboys.”
So begins Elmer Kelton’s story about what Christmas was like on a ranch in far West Texas during the Great Depression. Actually, he experienced Christmas on two ranches—the one where his father was foreman, and the one his paternal grandfather operated. His grandparents’ home lacked electricity, running water, and indoor plumbing, but it was full of cousins, delicious food, and a warm glow that reflected more than just the heat generated by the pot-bellied stove in the living room.
This heart-warming little book includes accounts of Kelton’s last Christmas at home before shipping out for war in Europe, his first Christmas after the war, and a special Christmas in Austria more than thirty-five years later. Families will want to read this book together and then share their own experiences about the “good old days,” however they are defined.