I was digging through a bureau in our foyer in which I keep family mementos: kids' report cards, artwork, etc. It's hopelessly jumbled so I was up to my elbows in memorabilia, when I found this:
My goodness. I hadn't thought of this in at least twenty years, not kidding. A zillion years ago, our little local paper put out a call for readers' holiday memories, and this was my contribution. In the spirit of the holiday, I thought I'd use it as today's post. Indulge me in a quick trip down memory lane....
"Santa doesn't visit boys and girls who don't believe in him," said my dad as he put down his coffee cup with a twinkle in his eye.
It was the snowiest Christmas Eve day that I can recall, and Santa's existence was at the top of our family's breakfast conversation.
"Well, of course there's a Santa!" firmly stated my brother Bucko. Joe and Jackie volunteered that they had seen genuine reindeer tracks just yesterday. Sue and my mom just smiled at each other.
At age 9, I wasn't so sure about Santa. In spite of the unexplainable details concerning his enormous task I decided to stifle my skepticism, however. It would never do to antagonize Santa on Christmas Eve.
After breakfast, there was no more time for speculation.
"We don't celebrate Christmas in a messy house!" said a cheerful Mom caught up in the holiday spirit. We tackled our chores with very uncharacteristic vigor.
That evening, the huge drifts of snow made it a difficult trip to the barn to choose Rudolph's traditional bale of hay. So Dad helped us lug the fragrant bale to the porch and carefully snipped the twine. As the warm light spilled out of the house around us, the snowstorm was unrelenting, and I saw a worried look pass between my parents. Our driveway was one long, impassable wall of white.
Our farmhouse was large, but not equipped with enough nooks and crannies to successfully hide all the makings for the wonderful Christmas mornings that we children were blessed with each year. And my parents were concerned about their ability to make a late night run to my grandfather's house to collect our gifts in the snow.
Nevertheless, we kids went to bed excited. My siblings weren't particularly concerned about the blizzard. Santa had a sleigh, didn't he? I reluctantly gave in to sleep that night to the puzzling noise of our snowmobile. I sleepily wondered what possessed Dad to be taking late night rides in a blizzard.
Christmas morning that year was breathtaking. The sun shone brilliantly on the huge drifts that covered our farm. As we raced from our bedrooms to dive into another glorious pile of wrappings, ribbons and boxes, I noticed Dad's barn jacket still dripping melted snow from it's hook. And as I looked at Mom and Dad sleepily smiling and oohing and aahing at each opened gift, suddenly I knew.
Of course Santa exists! He wears a denim barn coat and rides an Evinrude snowmobile.
I never doubted in him for an instant, and knew I never would again.