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Anne Rauth's grandpa in his hardware store.

A small town Christmas

My mother grew up in a very small town, so small that her graduating class was less than ten! However, what that town lacked in population, it made up for in spirit, community loyalty and love for the others who lived there.

My Grandfather Somerville owned the hardware store and lumberyard in town. One year he decided to add a gifts section. Soon after, my mother and her friends decided to transform it from the “normal” hardware appearance to that of an exclusive gift shop. They wrapped each shelf with gift wrap, tied tinsel to the ends, and topped the shelving off with lights. Somerville Hardware lived up to its motto, “The little store that gives you more.”

Many farmers and townspeople put gifts on layaway at the hardware store. And many couldn’t pay for the gifts until Christmas Eve; so Somerville Hardware stayed open late that night. The whole Somerville family helped. They wrapped. And wrapped. And wrapped some more.

Grandad Somerville meticulously, with engineering perfection, wrapped each gift. He cut the paper with such straight lines that the ends were always in perfect alignment.

With all the gifts wrapped, the Somerville Family dressed up and drove into the “big” town of Gallatin, as one of the churches always had a midnight candlelight church service. They certainly were tired, but it was a ”good” tired for when they exited the church after midnight, they knew they had helped make Christmas a reality for many families throughout the county. And now, it was Christmas Day!

Every year at Christmas, when I set our table with the red rimmed King’s Crown dinnerware that was purchased from Somerville Hardware store, each dish lovingly reminds me of two things: the blood, sweat and tears my Grandfather put into his business, and the birth of my savior who would shed his blood for me.

Submitted by Anne Rauth