Saturday, December 14, 2013

Santa came to the Party

Getting dressed up to go anywhere was a pleasant experience and exciting for a little girl. Between Mom and Grandma Minnie, I was well supplied with beautiful dresses that often rivaled any imaginary princess.
It’s the Christmas season and my brother and I are excited to go to a party—a Christmas party.  We have high hopes that we might receive a present or candy at the party given by Mr. and Mrs. Duncan, good friends of my Grandparents.
When we arrive, I’m pleased to see a Christmas tree, but more than that, the niece and nephews of the Duncan's are there, too. During the evening, the adults laugh and talk. The children play. *Anna and I are matched well as playmates, as are our brothers, and there are yummy desserts to eat. I don’t think the party can get any better, but when our attention turns to a commotion at the front door--someone dressed in a red and white suit.
“Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas!” he shouts.

Santa! I look at my little brother sitting on the floor and his eyes have widened to a quarter's size. My stomach is doing flips, feeling both nervous and excited.

Santa sits in a chair. Then, one by one, Santa lifts each child to his knee and asks what we want for Christmas. When it's my turn, I too sit on his knee, feeling shy. He asks me the same question that he has asked those before me. It is after I tell Santa what I would like for Christmas that I look past his merry fa├žade and realize Santa is Anna's dad.

As I climb down from his knee, I glance over at Anna who is smiling, but not looking at me. At that moment, I think two things. I hope that she doesn't recognize Santa as her dad, and I vow to keep this secret forever.
Fast forward to 2013, when Anna and I have reconnected on Facebook. I post the photo of Santa and me and share the secret I'd kept for so long. Anna, who ended up being a childhood friend, commented on the photo.
Teresa, I knew it was my dad, but I hoped my younger brothers still believed.
She had carried a secret about Santa, too.



And before you question the wisdom of wearing the Santa mask, I will tell you that perhaps it was common in those days for some Santa's to wear masks or it might be that he wore one  because the risk of being identified was there. No matter  the reason, it didn't seem odd to me at the time.

*Name changed to protect the person's identity.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Christmas Memory (1)

Growing up rural, we didn’t have lots of extra money, but my parents were generous in giving their children wonderful birthdays and Christmas’s.  Presents consisted of both wants and needs, but more than that, the Dugan-Powell Christmas also consisted of (extended) family gatherings and church activities. Great Christmas memories!
Sometimes we opened our gifts on Christmas Eve, but I remember one Christmas where we were to open our gifts on Christmas Day. My younger sister and I shared one of the two upstairs bedrooms. This didn't seem ideal when I became a teenager. With seven years between us in age, she was still into toys--lots of farming toys with animals--everywhere.  But, sharing a room was necessary and wasn’t as bad as I thought at the time.

One Christmas Eve, during my teen years, my sister had a hard time going to sleep. This happened from time to time, but usually because she was scared or wanted a reason to sleep in my bed, instead of her own. This particular Christmas Eve, however, she was just too excited to sleep. More than once, I told pleaded with her to go to sleep so that Santa could come to our house. I had all but given up my coaxing when, right on cue, we hear a jingling noise on the roof over us.

“Is that Santa?” my little sister whispered.

I was just as surprised as she was and at first said nothing. Then I realized it must be our cat with her bell collar on and took advantage of the opportunity. “Yes! Now go to sleep.”
She closed her eyes and soon thereafter fell asleep (or she pretended well). And all because our cat decided to climb on the roof and give a little jingle of her bell collar. Anyway--I think it was the cat.