A Luke Palmer Christmas story

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All photos Don Barone

“I wish you a hopeful Christmas…” 

Dateline: Coalgate, Okla. — Christmas Eve

“Every Christmas Eve at my family’s hardware store we invite everyone in town to come in for a Christmas party.”
— Elite angler Luke Palmer

“Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.”
— Washington Irving 

Christmas Eve is my favorite night of the year.

It is the only night of the year that I whisper a prayer, the same prayer said every Christmas Eve since 1972.

I bless myself and then this:
“Dear God, please let the killing stop.
Dear God, please make us be nice to each other.
Amen.”

And then I go to sleep and hope that is the gift that one day I find under my Christmas tree.

But so far I only find sweaters and socks.

Christmas in the hardware store

Welcome to Luke Palmer’s hometown of Coalgate, Okla., … population around 1,900 folks, give or take. 

“We are about an hour and a half, depending on who’s in front of you on the back roads, southeast of Oklahoma City. We do have a Sonic in town, but the closest Walmart is 20 minutes away.” 

Luke is telling me this as he stands inside the family-owned hardware store in town. “Our store, C & C Hardware, has been here since at least the 1940s, my dad and uncle run the place.”