Growing up in my family we always had great Christmases. Our Christmas was always complete with more presents, food and baked goods than a small third world country could need. My mother would wrap everything individually so there would be plenty of packages to open Christmas morning. Santa would come and leave unwrapped gifts like bicycles, dolls, erector sets, Lincoln logs and other things that had been put on Santa’s list. Santa would hide these presents in the trunk of my mother’s car until Christmas Eve. He would have to wait until she had finished her shift at the hospital and returned home to come to our house. He would then pop the trunk of her T-bird open and get out the toys he had stowed away for just this moment. It was amazing how he knew which car was my mother’s and that he would arrive exactly when she got home. I guess that is part of the magic that is Santa. He would then go to our stockings that were hung with care from the mantel and stuff them with all sorts of goodies. First there would be an orange, then an apple some walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts. Towards the top of the stocking there would be a tube of Chapstick and some pencils and ink pens then to top it all off sitting at the top of each stocking would be the Lifesaver Book. Yes folks it was always the mother-lode of candy goodness. There was every flavor of Lifesaver goodness in those books.
One Christmas I began to think I was too old for Santa Clause. I was almost seven, almost grown in my mind, and believing in Santa Clause was for babies. My older brother and sister both acted like they knew a big secret and I wanted to be in on their secret. They talked about Santa and then they would snicker. The kids at school were torn too. Some were staunch believers and would fight to the death anyone who said that Santa wasn’t real. There was a boy in my class who could be described as nothing but mean. He was a junior Grinch. He told all of us that there was no Santa. He said that Santa was really our parents and that it was all a big lie. Then he went on with his blasphemy and told us that there was no Easter Bunny and no Tooth Fairy. I told you he was mean through and through. I went home from school and shared my thoughts and fears with my older brother and my sister. They gave me a knowing look and said “Well that kid doesn’t know what he’s talking about!” You see I think that they felt once the jig was up with me Santa would go away completely and with it a part of their own magic of Christmas.
This is my 7 year old self. I was not listening to anybody. I knew there was a Santa.
Christmas Eve rolled around and the three of us kids sat around starring at the round colored wheel reflecting colors off of the silver tree. We talked about what Santa would be bringing that year. My sister and brother both told me that even though Santa was pure magic they didn’t think he would be able to get a pony on his sleigh unless it was a plastic pony for my Barbie. The stars came out and the local weatherman reported that Santa had been spotted not far from our town on the Santa Radar.
My siblings convinced me it was time for me to go to bed or Santa wouldn’t be able to come. I sat out a big glass of milk and some cookies that I had made. My daddy had a roaring fire burning in the fire place which concerned me. I mean if there really was a Santa and he came down the chimney the minute he hit one of my daddy’s Varsol sparked fires he would be burned up. What good is Santa if he is in the burn unit at Parkland Hospital? My daddy told me that Santa would be fine. That before he came down the chimney he threw down special dust that put the fire out and he was able to come in the house and leave our presents. When he left Santa would go back out through the fireplace and up the chimney and the fire would start back up. I was a little skeptical but I wanted so bad to believe. I went to bed and squeezed my eyes together in the guise of sleeping and I listened. I listened for sleigh bells, or hoof beats, or even that jolly round of Ho-ho-ho. While I was pretending so hard to sleep I fell fast asleep. I was so soundly asleep there were no visions of sugarplums or red plums or purple plums or plums of any kind.
This is a sugar plum which is not a plum at all. It doesn't even contain plums.
The next thing I knew my daddy was standing in the door of our bedroom saying “Hey y’all come look Santy Clause came!” We all sprang from our beds and ran to the living room and there in the family room coming from the fire place were boot prints. They were big boot prints covered in fireplace ash. They went from the fireplace in the family room on the red carpet to the living room where the tree was on the white carpet. Then there was a faint trail that led back to the roaring fire. That was it I was convinced. I went back and like the Nancy Drew fan I was I did my investigation. Sure enough there were footprints on the hearth coming out of the fireplace. They stepped off the hearth and went to each of the stockings and then trailed to the tree. Under the tree sat dolls and toys and all the presents for which we had longed. We unwrapped our presents in a flurry finding new sheets, and pillows, underwear and socks, toys and books. Santa had come to visit our house and I had proof.
So you see I believe in Santa. Do you?