A Rawls Christmas: cowboys and goats

Published 8:37 pm Saturday, November 25, 2017

Frank Rawls’ favorite Christmas memories involve a goat, a cowboy outfit and a Christmas Eve meal, although thankfully not all in the same year.

The president of the board of the Suffolk News-Herald Cheer Fund shared some of his best Christmas memories recently.

He remembers receiving a complete cowboy outfit, including a cap gun, as a child.

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“That was just so cool,” he said. “I wore it until I wore it out.”

He also remembers the Christmas Eve meal his parents always hosted.

“My folks always had a wonderful Christmas Eve meal, and we had a wonderful time at the meal,” Rawls said.

His dad’s best friend and his wife were always invited and stayed until after young Frank went to bed. It wasn’t until many years later that he realized his dad’s friend was probably staying late to help his dad put toys together.

“It was always a great meal,” Rawls said. “It was an anticipation of what was coming.”

After he got a little older, Rawls remembers a mutual friend putting a goat in local real estate agent Billy Chorey’s front yard.

“Each year, Billy and this friend had a contest as to who could get the best of the other,” Rawls recalled. “I think the goat might have been one of the last years, because it’s hard to top a goat.”

Rawls said he hopes potential donors to the Cheer Fund will remember what Christmas was like for them as a child and help provide that for today’s Suffolk children.

“If they were fortunate enough to have a Christmas and there was no concern as to whether or not they would receive anything, they can understand why giving to the Cheer Fund is important,” Rawls said. “When a kid expects something and then doesn’t receive it, it’s a very sad thing. It’s particularly sad when everybody around you is receiving something. Help turn what could be a terrible disappointment into lots of smiles and excitement and joy.”

The Cheer Fund started during the Great Depression to provide clothes and food for needy families. It eventually began providing toys for children and teamed up with the Toys for Tots program.

Toys purchased with Cheer Fund donations are distributed by the Salvation Army at its annual toy store in December. Families that receive toys are pre-approved based on financial need.

Due to an early outpouring of generosity, the Cheer Fund goal already has been increased to $40,000.

To help get folks into the Christmas spirit this year, folks are encouraged to post their Christmas memories on the Suffolk Cheer Fund Facebook page.

Cheer Fund donations are printed in the Suffolk News-Herald and can be made in honor of or in memory of a loved one. The donor can be listed anonymously if he chooses. The donor can also have his photograph taken giving the check to be published in the newspaper.

Donations for the Cheer Fund are accepted year-round. To give, write a check payable to the Cheer Fund and mail it to P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, VA 23439, or stop by our office at 130 S. Saratoga St. Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Online giving is also available. Visit Suffolk Cheer Fund on Facebook to find a PayPal link.