Dixie and the Little Green Horn

By on 07/21/2019

Dixie and the Little Green Horn

Dixie was born on April 8, 1929 and was a child of The Great Depression (1929-1939), and by 1935 rural America was greatly suffering as unemployment had reached a high of 20.1%, and the average income (if you had a job) was $1600 a year.

Gardens had sprung up everywhere, as the times called for the need of self-sufficiency. And if you had any money to purchase anything at all, you weighed that item’s necessity: beef was 10 cents per pound; milk was 14 cents a quart; 10 pounds of potatoes cost 19 cents; 2 pounds of flour ranged from 8 to 10 cents; 18 cents for a dozen eggs; a loaf of white bread hit 8 cents, and a tin can of beans sky rocketed to a quarter. Gasoline was 10 cent a gallon, and new cars sold for just over $600 – but few new cars were purchased as many a family man wore the hat of shade tree mechanic, getting every mile out of the vehicle they owned.

But to a smiling, happy six year old girl – the family’s weekly shopping trip to Sedan was a great adventure. And as she walked, wide eyed, down the isles of R.F. Smith’s Five & Ten Cent Store everything both big and small was a wonderment.

But then something caught her eye – it was a shiny green tin horn. She stared and stared at the horn, and even walked away on several occasions, but always seemed to find herself back staring at that shiny little musical instrument. Oh, how she wanted that little, thirty cent, green horn.

Finally Dixie heard her father (Dick) call and knew it was time to go home. She had never asked her father for money before, but the image of that little green horn seemed to haunt her. So taking a deep breath, she asked her father for thirty cents.

Dick had never refused his little angel anything, so without questioning – he dug deep into his pocket and pulled out three dimes. One by one he counted and placed them in Dixie’s hand.

Dixie rushed back into the store and proudly made her first purchase – that little green horn. Just as quick as she had gone, she returned with a smile on her face and a brown paper wrapped package, tied with a string, in her hands. And all the way home she dreamed of the wondrous music she could play on her newly acquired little green horn.

Once the family got home Dick asked his daughter what she had purchased, and she quickly brandished her prize. But the shininess of the horn seemed to fade as she saw a disappointing frown grow on her father’s face.

Her father didn’t spank or scold her, but sat her down and explained the importance of thirty cents and what those three little dimes could have purchased.

Dixie’s eyes watered and she ran to her room. Saddened she cried herself to sleep that night – not because she had done anything wrong – but because she had so disappointed her father.

As Dixie told this story a sparkling light from her eyes reflected off of the two little tears that had gathered in the corner of each eye. And I could see that sparkle wasn’t about remembering that little green horn – it was about her love for her father!

– Jim Chase