Monday, December 19, 2011

I Remember Christmas

I remember my first Christmas
adventure with Grandma.  I was just
a kid. 

I remember tearing across town on my bike to

visit her on the day my big sister dropped the

bomb:  "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered.
  "Even dummies know that!"

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never
had been.  I fled to her that day because I
knew she would be straight with me.  I knew
Grandma always told the truth, and I knew
that the truth always went down a whole lot
easier when swallowed with one of her "world-
famous" cinnamon buns.  I knew they were
world-famous, because Grandma said so.  It
had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still
warm.  Between bites, I told her everything. 
She was ready for me.  "No Santa Claus?" she

snorted...."Ridiculous!  Don't believe it.  That
rumor has been going around for years, and it
makes me mad,  plain mad!!  Now, put on your
coat, and let's go."

"Go?  Go where, Grandma?" I asked.  I hadn't
even finished my second world-famous
cinnamon bun.  "Where" turned out to be
Kerby's General Store, the one store in town
that had a little bit of just about everything. 
As we walked through its doors, Grandma
handed me ten dollars.  That was a bundle in
those days.  "Take this money," she said, "and
buy something for someone who needs it.   I'll
wait for you in the car."  Then she turned and
walked out of Kerby's.

I was only eight years old.  I'd often gone
shopping with my mother, but never had I
shopped for anything all by myself.  The
store seemed big and crowded, full of people
scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.

For a few moments I

just stood there, confused, clutching that
ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and
who on earth to buy it for.

I thought of everybody I knew:  my family, my
friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the
people who went to my church.

I was just about thought out, when I suddenly
thought of Bobby Decker.  He was a kid with
bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right
behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class. 
Bobby Decker didn't have a coat.  I knew that
because he never went out to recess during
the winter.  His mother always wrote a note,
telling the teacher that he had a cough, but
all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't

have a cough; he didn't have a good coat.  I
fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing
excitement.  I would buy Bobby Decker a


I settled on a red corduroy one that had a

hood to it.  It looked real warm, and he would
like that.

"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the
lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid
my ten dollars down.  "Yes, ma'am," I replied
shyly.  "It's for Bobby."

The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about
how Bobby really needed a good winter coat.
  I didn't get any

change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled
again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the
coat (a little tag fell out of the coat, and
Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas
paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it.

Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy.  Then she drove me over to Bobby
Decker's house, explaining as we went that I
was now and forever officially, one of Santa's

Grandma parked down the street from
Bobby's house, and she and I crept
noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front
walk.  Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All
right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front
door, threw the present down on his step,
pounded his door and flew back to the safety

of the bushes and Grandma.

Together we waited breathlessly in the
darkness for the front door to open.  Finally
it did, and there stood Bobby.

Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those
moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma,
in Bobby Decker's bushes.  That night, I
realized that those awful rumors about Santa
Claus were just what Grandma said they were 

--  ridiculous.  Santa was alive and well, and
we were on his team.

I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked
inside:  $19.95.

May you always have LOVE to share, 

HEALTH to spare and

FRIENDS that care...

And may you always believe in the magic of
Santa Claus!

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