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Christmas at Sheda’s Grocery Story; 1959

Take A Mulligan

December 16, 2018
By John Sheda , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

It all started the day after Thanksgiving when a shipment of 75-100 Christmas Trees came to our grocery store for sale to one and all. What an exciting time. The fresh smell of all those pine-fir trees was enough to make a kid of 8 or 9 feel as if he's in heaven. It's 1959 and it's officially Christmas time in Chelsea. Dad & Mom, my brothers and sister all helped unload them and began to stack them all over the place. Christmas trees leaned against the side of the store, the front of the store and Dad even made a fence to lean more trees along the sidewalk facing Main Street. Me? I just marvelled at all the trees and really wasn't much help at all. More of in the way probably, but, heck, I didn't care. I was on a mission-to pick out our tree for the house. And there were plenty of beautiful trees to pick from. From ones as little as four feet tall to some huge seven or eight-footers. This was gonna be fun!!

There was several inches of snow on the ground and in a short time some of my friends started coming around to share in the excitement of Christmas. Prices were tagged on the trees. A whole dollar a foot per tree. After careful inspection, I finally saw it. The perfect tree for our living room. Our house was small so the big trees were definitely out, but one beautiful 5 and a half footer caught my eye. Dark greenish color, needles looking great and just enough branches to give it that "Christmassy" fluffy look. Yep, that's the one for me.

The weekend after Thanksgiving was busy at the grocery store. People started coming in to buy their Christmas trees and Father Hlubek came and ordered about ten trees to set up at the Church, right behind the Nativity. But Sunday night, my tree was still there. The taller and more majestic trees went first. For once I was glad we had a small house with low ceilings. God sure works in mysterious ways.

Article Photos

John Sheda

With more snow falling during the night, the trees on Monday morning all were glistening with fresh snow on them. The snow kept falling and "oh boy, school was cancelled." I couldn't belive it. I had all day to arrange the trees after the weekend sale and then just for the heck of it, to re-arrange them again and again. Mark, Tom, Mahlon and all the kids in town seemed to be here. We made a fort with the trees and with imaginations of ten year old kids, who knows what great exploits we engaged in. Soon, however, Dad would come out and in his loving (har, har) way, tell me that not one branch from one tree better get broken and to get the trees back the way they were supposed to be. We obeyed--for a short time, and then the playing once again began.

However after about a week or so, the trees were dwindling. One by one the Christmas trees were being sold. Wow, two weeks before Christmas and were down to about 25 trees now. But, "thank you God" my tree was still here. Of course, it might of helped that it was hid under or behind other trees. All was well...UNTIL Mr. & Mrs. Prochaka came in to buy their tree. They went up and down the trees left over, examining this one and then that one and finally stopped after eyeing MY TREE. Mrs. Prochaka said, "Dear, this one is perfect and so beautiful." My heart crashed. The tree within a matter of moments was sold.

So, I began the task of finding another tree. And I did. And it got sold. Found another one. It got sold. Until finally three days before Christmas, and four trees left. Not the prettiest trees to be sure. After all, we started out with about a hundred trees and these four were NOT PICKED. You can imagine what they looked like. Dad came up to me and said, "Johnny, pick out the tree you want." My name might as well of been Charlie Brown. But out of the four, I picked out the best one. That night, we decorated it and you know what--IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. In fact the tree seemed to be honored to adorn our home. Kind of proud to be the only one chosen out of so many that had the opportunity to reside in the home that sold Christmas Trees. And I was proud too. In fact, it was the greatest Christmas ever. So from our home to yours, Merry Christmas.

Let me know if you bought a tree from us at or call me at 319.327.4640.

Be blest.



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