HISTORY OF PASCO COUNTY

Lacoochee


Bicycles for Christmas

By WAYNE L. GROOVER

The tall spruce (Christmas) tree draped with colored lights and a star that almost reached the ceiling was the only thing that separated the red and blue bicycles. We knew by the shape of the bars which treasure was for Melanie and which one I would be riding. The flames from the roaring fire in the fireplace added to the glow of the room. Daddy was always good at building fires. He would stoop by the hearth, snap a few sticks of kindling, add a log or two, and almost like magic the welcome sound of flames covering and burning logs would fill the living and dining rooms.

It was Christmas morning in Lacoochee in 1953 and somehow, someway, Santa had delivered bicycles to the Groover house. Melanie and I were too eager to open the other presents and gobble some breakfast so we could get out and ride up and down the street from the crate mill to the railroad, to determine just how Santa had pushed those beauties without any scratches down the chimney.

Later we were to learn that they had been stored in the downstairs landing of the steps that helped to separate the upstairs apartment from the lower floor of the large Martin house that was conveniently built between the commissary and the filling station about a block from our house. A thoughtful and yes, wonderful couple, Counsel and Goldie Johnson, had generously kept the Christmas secret of those bicycles so that late on Christmas Eve when Mom and Dad had made sure that Melanie and I were sound asleep, Dad could walk a short distance and push or perhaps ride those bicycles one by one to our house for the most exciting Christmas morning of our lives.

Wayne Groover, a retired school teacher, lives in Orlando, FL. Melanie Groover Beckner, a retired high school counselor, lives in Foley, Alabama. Their mother Alice Lee Groover (1912 - 2003 ) taught grade school in Lacoochee. Their father Joshua (Josh) Groover (1913 - 2009) was a company bookkeeper.

To read previous stories contributed by Wayne Groover, click on A Round with the Night Watchman.

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