All He Wanted for Christmas Was an Ax!

It’s hard to imagine why, but all Billy asked for that Christmas was an ax. Maybe he was remembering the year before with Evil Larry. That’s not a typical item for an eleven-year-old to ask for, but he stuck to his guns.  The ax was his only request.  Christmas morning he got up to find the tree mounded up with presents, but no ax shaped gifts, though it’s hard to imagine how one might expect to see an ax wrapped.  After a few tension filled minutes of searching, he spotted the old broken ax that had been lying out on the wood pile the night before.  Whoever was playing Santa tricks hadn’t even bothered to buff the rust off the head or knock the dried cow manure off the cracked handle.  It lay carelessly against the brick hearth where it had been tossed at the last minute.  Bill was sick.  He looked at Daddy’s stern face, “You didn’t really think you’d get something dangerous as an ax, did you?”  His Christmas was ruined.  Daddy let him suffer a minute of devastation before pulling the age old trick.  “Well, if you look behind the tree, you might find…………” Of course, it was the ax of his dreams, complete with a bright red bow, probably the only ax delivered that Christmas morning.  He was delighted!  He had to hang around long enough to open the rest of his gifts, including the obligatory item he needed, new shoes for school.  He endured a safety lecture before bursting outdoors to try his ax.

He had a glorious time for several days, chopping everything in sight.  After he seemed like he might have the essentials down, Daddy put a pretty sharp edge on it, thinking he understood the danger now.  Big mistake.  He just had time to build up a little confidence.  He took a whack a log.  It rolled.  He whacked again.  It rolled again.  He steadied it with his foot this time.  Hitting his foot with a glancing blow, he was horrified to see a cut on the side of his show.  Knowing there was no way to hide the damage to his shoe, he headed for the house, ready to face the music, ax still in hand.  He came into the living room.  “Mother, I cut my new shoe.”

She blanched.  “Did you cut your foot?  Take off your shoe and let me see!”

“No ma’am!  I just cut my shoe, but you can take it to the shoe shop and get it sewn up.”

“Don’t worry about the shoe.  Just take off the shoe and let me see about your foot!”  When he pulled off the shoe, it looked like the side of his foot fell off and blood gushed all over the floor.  “Oh, My Lord!  Somebody get me some towels! We gotta get to the doctor!”  My aunt and her boys were there. The women scooped him up, Mother holding pressure, and my aunt driving.  In the brief time they were gone, her four-year-old twins were skating around in the huge puddle of blood like they were the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall.  Thank God, Daddy met them just down the road and he and Mother took Billy on to the doctor to be stitched up. This freed Aunt Esther up to come back and clean up her little hellions and their blood bath.  Amazingly, he’d sliced neatly through the ball of his foot, missing bones and tendons.  Though he had dozens of stitches, inside and out, it healed beautifully, with no problems.

Later that evening, he lay on the couch, foot elevated on a pillow.  He’d had pain medication and finally felt well enought to eat.  Mother felt awful for him, so had made oyster stew, his favorite.  She brought it to him on a tray table, so he could eat without moving.  That would have been wonderful, had she not maneuvered just perfectly and whacked him directly on his bandanged foot, rewaking his screaming pain.

Our budget being what it was, that shoe did go to the shoe shop to be mended.  Bill was restricted to crutches, so Mother borrowed a set from a friend.  The fly in the ointment, was that one of them lacked a safety tip.  Mother really meant to get a replacement, but time got away from her.  It probably wouldn’t have mattered except for the ice storm the night before he started back to school.  He hobbled out toward the bus, managing pretty well till he hit a patch of ice with that slick crutch tip.  He went flying head over rear, landing in icy mud, skidding the rest of the way to the bus.  For what it was worth, he got an extra day of vacation

38 thoughts on “All He Wanted for Christmas Was an Ax!

  1. That brought back memories. I fell against a pop bottle rack in a grocery when I was seven.. The bottle broke and my arm came down on it. I cut it open from above my elbow to below without cutting through any tendons. My dad was horrified. He and the grocer rushed me to the emergency where they stitched it up. I hadn’t felt a thing. The worst thing was getting the use of the arm back after it was stiff from being in a sling and then having the stitches removed. I still have the big scar, but it’s faded. Thank goodness they came up with plastic bottles. — Suzanne

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  2. I cringe upon hearing cut foot and hand injuries. I actually get the shivers and you gave me one. I was a Scoutmaster for a number of years and we always taught axe safety before allowing any scout to use one. Inevitably every year at camp I wound up driving a scout to the ER for stitches to close a chopped foot.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like that little hellion got exactly what he deserved after so selfishly inhaling your poor, tortured, mother’s final fruitcake!

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  4. Ha Ha! I know I shouldn’t laugh as he could have hacked his foot off, but I love the way he told your mum he ‘had cut the shoe’! Also it was rather unfortunate that it was icy the night before he had to go to school and he skidded over! Poor Billy!

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  5. Wonderfully written story with all the highs and lows of childhood. I can totally imagine my husband or my brothers asking for an ax and getting one! Boyhood was different then, wasn’t it, and boys worked hard, at least in my neck of the woods.

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  6. Great story. Glad it ended well. Can’t resist to call it an axy moron. Almost made half an ax of himself in that axident. I’m sure he didn’t ax for one again, although there may have been axtenuating circumtances. Ok I’ll shut up now 🙂

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      • Gipsies, this is true. My brother told me the other day why he wanted that ax. My dad was clearing a lot of new ground on some heavily forested land. Daddy used a power saw. It cut through the trees like butter, but of course was way too dangerous for a kid to use. The kid job was dragging branches too small for timber or posts and piling them for burning later. It was miserable work, wet and muddy in winter and hot as hell in summer. The trees were cut in sections and sold for timber. My brother wanted the ax so he could clear saplings instead of pile brush. The worst of it was, it was so easy to get into bees, poison ivy, or walk up on a snake. It was miserable work. I was so glad when we finally got that land cleared. It took about four years. Daddy didn’t pay any attention to boy or girl jobs. I worked as hard as my brother.

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