Wednesday, April 18, 2018


   I was about seven when it occurred to me something about this Santa Claus story just wasn't adding up.
   First, we didn't have a chimney in our house. How was Santa making entry? And if it was, in fact, that easy to get into our house in the wee hours of the night, what was keeping other, more duplicitous, professed do-gooders from prancing right in.
   Second, one year earlier, my extended family had gone to great lengths to put on the blitz with a Santa Claus showcase on Christmas Eve at my Grandma and Grandpa's house. Santa jingle-jangled into the family room, sleigh bells clanging, sack slung over his shoulder. My two cousins, my sister and I stared, awestruck.
   We each had a turn on his knee, receiving a gift and a candy cane. Camera flashes burst all around us. The clicking, eight-millimeter movie camera, with its retina-scorching light bulb, recording it, for all time, in Technicolor.
   Only a few minutes later he dashed away, dashed away – through the swinging kitchen doors. I had just a moment to consider how none of what had just happened jibed with Santa's prescribed Christmas Eve agenda before the grown people in the room hurried us children to the plate glass window in the dining room, carrying on maniacally, pointing and gesturing to the pitch dark, backyard. “Do you see him? There he goes. Look there's his sleigh.”
   What the dickens were they all talking about? A born skeptic, my eyebrow arched like the toe of an elf's boot, I peered out the window, but saw no creature stirring, not even a mouse. But I did smell a rat.
   So the next year, I devised a plan. I was going to solve this mystery once and for all. I would stay awake all night, listening. Listening for reindeer paws, tinkling bells, or a deep, baritoned Ho Ho Ho.
   I awoke the next morning, certain I had dutifully accomplished my mission. I had my proof. Or lack thereof. I'd been fed a bowl full of jelly long enough, and I was going to set the record straight.
   Gifts opened, Dad sat at the Kimball organ, playing a tune. I leaned against the top of its cabinet, preparing my case. Deciding to get right to the point, my stubborn, little chin jutted out, I declared, “I stayed awake all night last night, and I never heard Santa come.” Heh heh! Whatdaya got to say about that?
   My father never missed a beat, played his song unperturbed, and met my accusing stare. “Sounds to me like you need a nap.”
   Wha?! I had wandered into dangerous territory. Being told to take a nap on Christmas Day? Quick as a missile, I had to get out of sight. So away I did fly like the down of a thistle.
   My father had won this round, he was clever and cunning. I made up my mind though... next year, I'd dissect the Easter Bunny.

1 comment:

  1. and Dad do/did have a very similar sense of humor...and, quick, not so much