We recently received the following story from a local reader. In the spirit of the season, we’re delighted to share it with you.
I sat silently, waiting expectantly, both my hands braced on my cheeks. My head bobbing, and eyes closing, then opening. I wasn’t going to miss this moment.
My sisters and I had waited all year, and we were determined to see the person that made little children happy with gifts of joy.
“He does exist,” I thought. “There was no way little Shanny Baker had her facts straight. He didn’t come to her house cause she was naughty not nice.”
Here we were, all seven of us cuddled together, waiting, watching. “Do you think he will bring Rudolf?” I asked one sister.
“Oh yes,” she squealed, then I shushed her: “Keep it down. We don’t want Santa to know we are here. How do you think he fits down the small chimney?” I said. “He’s pretty fat, you know. I think he practices those exercises on sucking in his tummy, so he can slide down without getting stuck.”
“Did you make the cookies and put out the milk?” I asked another sister.
She said, “I got pretty hungry and thirsty while I was waiting, so I improvised. I put out bread and water.”
“Oh my God!” I exclaimed. “Santa will think he is visiting a prison.”
“Sorry,” she sighed.
I patted her head and told her it was the thought that counted. Besides, Santa didn’t come just for the cookies and milk. He came because he knew we were good all year – and we helped people. Yes, even disbeliever Shanny Baker.
“Santa and his elves got our names and will bring a nice gift to give us, cause, well, cause they think that we are special – yeah – that we are special.”
“You think so?” My sister piped up. “No,” I said. “I don’t think so, I know so!”
“Did you write your letter to Santa like I told you to?” I asked the one sister that is great at procrastinating.
“Yes, I did,” she retorted.
“Did you mail it?”
“Well,” she said, “I meant to, but when I got to the store, I saw the ice cream cones and well, you know how much I love rainbow ice cream.”
“Oh no!” I said as I clasped my head.
“Hopefully, he has a crystal ball out there and can see how good you’ve been.”
“I sure hope so,” she sighed, or I am so S.O.L.”
“What?” I gasped.
“You know! Sorry, Out of Luck. No presents, nada, none, zilch, zip, zero.”
“Don’t worry,” I said, “we will each give you one of ours.”
“What?” I heard in unison.
“Give and you shall receive, do unto others.”
“Yeah,” one sister exclaimed, “before they do unto you.”
“Now, now,” I said, and gave her that I am-so-disappointed-in-you look.
“How will we know him?” one sister said, almost asleep now.
I looked at her then said, “You know, he’s the guy in the red suit, the red suit with all the gifts. The one sneaking quietly around the tree.”
“How do you know he is not a burglar?” one sister chimed in.
“Not many burglars dressed in red, putting presents around the tree. Usually they are gathering them up.”
“Oh yeah,” she said, then leaned her head on the other sister’s shoulder and closed her eyes.
I knew I should have done this solo. I should have never let them in on Operation Santa Claus.
“Shush,” I said. “I think I hear something.”
All us girls sat up wide eyed, looking intently at the fireplace. We saw only the Christmas lights twinkling in the dark.
“Oh my God, I think it is him!”
“No,” my sister exclaimed. “It can’t be him. It can’t be midnight yet. I didn’t hear the clock strike twelve.”
“Maybe his watch is fast?” one sister whispered.
“Santa doesn’t wear a watch, you ninny,” another sister scolded.
“How do you know?”
“Well, everyone knows that. It is a well known fact. Did you ever see any books where Santa was wearing a watch?”
“Not that I can remember,” she confessed. “Well, there you go, facts is facts.”
“Be quiet now, girls, we don’t want to scare him away.”
Here we sat, seven little girls dressed in flannel, waiting, watching, hoping to catch a glimpse of the All Famous Santa Claus.
“What if he catches us?” my little sister whispered.
“What did you tell Santa you wanted?”
“Peace in the world.”
“Really???” she asked innocently.
“No, silly, I asked for a Barbie doll with that nice outfit she wears. What did you ask for?”
“I asked him to give Daddy a good pair of gloves, so that his hands won’t get so cold when he changes all those tires in the cold.”
How selfish did I feel? “I wonder if I can revise the list I gave to him. Do you think it is too late?”
We waited what seemed an eternity. Each of us yawning, and rubbing our eyes, trying hard, trying real hard not to fall asleep. Not to miss that special moment. No, no, we can’t miss Santa Claus.
When I awoke, I was in my own bed, my sisters in theirs. I called out to them, and we all bounded downstairs like a heard of elephants.
My father was downstairs waiting for us to appear. The gifts neatly wrapped, one gift each. That is all we could afford. But that was plenty. We had one another and that is what really counts.
“Merry Christmas!” he shouted and we threw our arms around him, and in our excitement chimed, “Merry Christmas to you,” to Daddy.
“Did you see him, Daddy? Did you see him?”
“Who?” my father asked.
“Santa! Did you see Santa?”
“Yes,” my father said. We asked why he didn’t have a gift, and his reply was, “You, my dears, are the greatest gift I could ever ask for.”
Thank you, Santa for all the wonderful people that were a part in my life. For that I am truly blessed.
To all a Merry Christmas, and to all a good night.
– Susan Riley lives in Cloverdale