Thank you for taking the time to read me.
I am humbled.
I saw Santa. Once . Long ago. I am certain I did.
Not a store-made Santa who sits on the big chair and smells of cigarettes and aqua velva. No indeed not one one of those poorly cloned copies who need pillows for bellies, and cotton for beards.
I saw the real Santa. I swear I did.
I was 5. Or maybe 6. That isn’t really important to this story. All that matters is I was young enough to still see magic, and feel magic. To sense real magic when it happened. And it happened.
Christmas Eve. I was supposed to be asleep, but there was no way I could sleep. My parents and some other adults had gathered for the usual Christmas Eve festivities. Singing carols, eating treats, and drinking drinks that made adults jolly with the spirit of Christmas.
While the adults laughed and sang loudly, I lay in my bed listening for that moment of magic. And then. There. That noise; a bump on the roof. And a jingle, jangle. And one loud stomp. It was so loud I was sure the entire world had heard it.
Far downstairs the adults were as loud as ever – their old grown-up ears not able to hear the magic. I pressed my face to the frost covered glass, trying to see through the Jack Frost swirls and curls. A flash of red passed by. It had to be him.
Silent as a mouse I moved through the house. Small enough to pass beneath the singing jolly adults without being noticed. I passed by and into the backroom where the Christmas tree waited for Santa’s generosity. I was too late! The tree stood proudly over a mountain of presents, and the stockings sagged from the weight of the goodies inside.
I moved quickly to the backdoor, where my boots were drying. I slipped them on and popped out, and right into a perfect belly and a soft red velvet suit.
It was him – the one and only Real Santa.
He raised a finger to his lips to command my silence, and I wide-eyed obeyed. He smiled, and winked. Helped me stand up. Then he reached into a large bag he was carrying and pulled out a toy airplane with flashing red and blue lights. A wonder of his workshop given right to my hands.
Then he turned me toward the door, and pointed for me to go back inside. One does not disobey Santa if one wants another magical Christmas! I bolted inside as if I was pulled by eight tiny reindeer. And I whistled and shouted and called out his name: “Santa is here! Santa is here!”
The adults turned and smiled at my clattering excitement. My parents bemused let me drag them outside so I could show them the proof that Santa was not just real – but in our backyard.
Being adults they were much too slow. By the time coats and boots had been found and put on, Santa was gone. Vanished except for his boot marks leading toward two thin lines – the marks of his sleigh. And numerous small round marks left by the prancing reindeer.
I told my parents what had happened. and showed them the airplane. But I could see they didn’t believe me.
Then from down the road we heard the jingle of bells, and a loud HO! HO! HO!
And then a crack and a burst of light into the sky, with a deep rolling voice calling, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
Later as my mother tucked me into bed, she kissed me on the forehead saying, “You lucky boy. Not just anyone gets to see the Real Santa Claus.”
And that is how I know Santa is more than just a story – because I met him for real over 40 years ago on a cold snowy Christmas Eve.
- The Santa Claus Myth – Should You Tell The Kids The Truth? (roomtogrow.co.uk)
- 10 Cool Santa Facts…and A Santa Tracker to boot! 😉 (bluediamondaromas.wordpress.com)
- Why Santa is silly (trinidadexpress.com)
- 5 Best Christmas Albums (mademan.com)
- 10 Best Cartoon Christmas Movies (mademan.com)
- Let the Children Beleive for as Long As They Can (costumesupercenter.com)
This day seems to be the forgotten holiday of the year. There is no lead-up to Good Friday. No frenzied fanfare of festivity. No elaborate feasts to plan and prepare. That is probably why I like it the best.
Good Friday really is a day off from the bustle and hustle of the consumer world. No sales. Just time to contemplate the world. I am sitting here this morning with a second cup of coffee, watching the sun peak over the horizon. There is a slight mist on the roofs of the houses as the day slips from springtime chill to springtime warmth.
I have time to think. Let my brain play with words. Roofs. Rooves. I remember learning in school that the plural of roof was rooves. But now we use the american “roofs”. When did that change? The rule was if it is ends in ‘f’ or ‘fe’ then to make the plural you drop the “f” sound and writes “ves”.
dwarf to dwarves
elf to elves
hoof to hooves
knife to knives
leaf to leaves
life to lives
self to selves
wolf to wolves
Of course then there are words that ignore the rule anyway – like the plural of beef is not beeves. And the plural of proof is not prooves.
Ah english the language of rules, and long lists of exceptions to the rules!
See Good Friday is for getting diverted and contemplative. The above was simply pointless stream of consciousness. A raw slice of my brain straight up. I am full of trivia. Or full of something.
My favourite memory of Good Friday is from many many many years ago. I was in my early twenties. I was with some friends driving up to Midland, Ontario to find a very specific restaurant that served Lake Huron whitefish. The driver had heard the food was incredibly fresh and delicious.
Now I don’t remember the restaurant name but I do think it was Henry’s Fish Restaurant. I’ve been back a few times so my memory may be muddled. And the fish is still incredible!
The memory wasn’t about the destination. It was the journey. A foggy Good Friday. Dense white cotton fog slowing us down to below the speed-limit. The trees and posts shadowy black markers flashing by us. The road shiny black and slick. And no-one else on the road. Just us – some friends on a journey.
In the back of the car was a book – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – and it was an incredible find. At that moment, in that space, that book and the message inside clicked with me. There are concepts in that book that I had no idea could actually exist! My friend – the driver of the car – saw me thumbing through the book and gave it to me.
I can see that same book looking at me from my shelves. It is bedraggled and stained and dog-eared. The book has survived the years. My friend died later that year from leukemia. On that Good Friday my friend was a big-man full of life and zest – and by the fall of that year he was an anemic husk gasping for air in a hospital bed. He was much too young to die.
That Good Friday held no hint of the tragedy waiting in our future. We laughed, we talked. We drank beer by the lake. And we discussed philosophy and how we would change the world. By the time we had finished our exploration of Midland – the sun had burned away the morning fog.
On our way back home, we stopped at used bookshops along the way looking for old National Geographic magazines.
Good Friday: A good day to remember how we have arrived at this moment in time.