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 then 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, he 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 him what I want Santa to bring me for Christmas that I look past his merry façade 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 beyond hope that she doesn't recognize Santa as her dad and I vow to keep this secret forever.Fast forward to 2013. On Facebook, I post the photo of Santa and me and share the secret I'd kept. Anna, who ended up being a longtime 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.