The View from My Seat archives


Published January 7, 2020


Holiday leftovers: Chipper the dog was a great present, then the doorbell rang

By Ernie Williamson / The Bulletin

Some tales from Christmases past and present:

MY CHRISTMAS STORY: Every year when I hear Ralphie describe his family’s misadventures in “A Christmas Story,” I can’t help but recall one of my most memorable Christmases. I have told the story many times, but never to you. Beware: It is not nearly as funny.
I am not sure of the exact year, but one year when I was about 10 and my brother was about 7, my parents gave us a dog for Christmas.

Chipper was no ordinary dog. He was a beautiful collie that was a couple years old and had already been trained by a breeder. He was a dead-ringer for Lassie.

Apparently, the breeder felt she was getting too old to care for more than a couple dogs and had decided to give Chipper away to a deserving family. She had interviewed several prospective owners, and my dad won out. He brought it home a day or two before Christmas.

By Christmas day, Chipper was a member of the family. We loved that dog.

Christmas night my family, including aunts, uncles and cousins, was eating dinner when the doorbell rang.

My dad went into the other room o see who was at the door. He was gone for a while, and we couldn’t hear what was happening. We all wondered what was going on.

Dad returned to the dining room with a distressed look on his face. He announced that the person at the front door was the breeder. She was distraught, missed Chipper, and wanted him back. Chipper was gone.

I remember running to the front window to catch a glimpse of Chipper being taken away. I was too late. I never saw Chipper again.
That made for a miserable Christmas for the Williamson boys, but there was a happy ending … eventually.

Months later my dad brought home another dog. It was an Australian Shepherd pup we named George. George stayed around for a while. He saw us through elementary school, junior high, high school and college.

YOU KNOW YOU ARE OLD WHEN… : My wife this year gifted me with a tracking device that will help find my wallet, keys or phone when - not if - I lose or misplace them. All I need now is someone with enough technological savvy to do the programming. It still doesn’t solve the problem of finding the TV remote, my glasses or hearing aids.

TIMES CHANGE: Only a year ago, Georgia, a granddaughter, wanted American Girl dolls for Christmas. This Christmas she programmed a small drone and was flying it in the driveway. She also was playing with a robot that helped her learn how to code. Maybe the emphasis on STEM is working. I could use her help programming my new tracking device.

FAMILY TIME: I got an interesting gift from my daughter. It is called StoryWorth, and it’s a service that makes it easy to privately record family stories.

For a one-year subscription, I get a question every week that I answer by email. The questions can originate from my daughter or be selected from questions provided by the service. At the end of the year, the questions are bound into a book. Pictures can be included.

I am looking forward to this. I may, however, change my mind once I see the questions. I will keep you posted.

(Ernie Williamson welcomes reader input. Please contact Ernie at Or, send letters in care of The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516)