I was only three years of age and Christmas was my favorite time of the year. Our quaint little house was trimmed with holly and pine bows which gave each room a real Christmas smell. Mom always cooked cakes and cookies while Dad shopped for fruits. He brought home a huge box filled with oranges, tangerines, apples, an assortment of nuts and boxes of candy. Nothing could be better than the experience of Christmas at our house.
I had polio and was hobbling around with my braces. I really was hoping Santa would come and take away this dreaded disease from me. My cousins were mostly boys and kept telling me that there was NO Santa Claus. They kept saying that I was stupid for expecting him to come to my house and seeing him was totally out of the question. You simply could not see someone that was not real! Regardless of their words I kept my cheerful attitude spending a great deal of time trimming the tall tree Dad had brought home. We always put it in the living room since we kept it closed off from the other rooms. We did this to keep the heat in only the few rooms we actually stayed in all the time. The living room and the front bedroom could be closed off thus staying very cold inside. This made a perfect place for our tree since the heat did not dry it out and I could peep through the keyhole to see if Santa had been.
I had only asked for twin dolls in the letter I had written to Santa. I knew he would get it for I mailed it myself at the post office. Our postmaster had worked there forever and he knew exactly where to send the letter.
Our little town was more than little. We had no stop lights, one Esso Station, one grocery store, and a soda shop called the Klondike. There were no lights shining from the telephone poles but every house had a Christmas tree shining brightly through the windows.
I was anxious for Santa to come so I kept watch through the keyhole. There was nothing more important to me this Christmas Eve. My grandmother had come to visit and she cracked the nuts while I filled my tummy with the tasty morsels. She was a grand ole lady with hair as white as snow. I remember quite clearly pulling up the skin on the tops of her hands just to see it stand up. I never knew exactly why her skin was not stuck as tight as my skin was. Nevertheless she was my second mother and I loved her dearly.
It was about eight o’clock and my bedtime was nine o’clock. I was wearing my flannel gown so I could pop into bed quickly if need be. Granny always waited until she got ready to go to bed to put on her nighties. Mom was busy in the kitchen and Dad was helping crack nuts for pies.
Suddenly there came a knock at the front door. Who could be coming to visit on such an important night? Most people and all children were home waiting for Santa. I jumped from my stool and rushed to the den door. Dad came right behind me opening the door and walking through the living room to answer the door.
I heard a noise and some laughter. To my surprise Santa came walking through my door. He was dressed all in red and was carrying a big sack on his back. He was laughing and his belly was bouncing up and down. He reached down and picked me up. There I was, eye to eye with the real Santa. I knew he was real for I tried to pull on his white beard to see if it would come off. It did not move! He hugged me real tight and tossed his bag onto the floor. I figured this was my opportunity to check his hair. So I reached my tiny hand under his hat and gave his white hair a tug. It was stuck too! Now I knew he was for real.
He opened his sack and pulled out toys, lots of toys. He gave me a cook stove, twin baby dolls, an ironing board with an iron, a rocking horse that really rocked and a bracelet I still have to this day. No one could ever make me believe that there was no Santa now. He had made a special visit to show me that there really was a person who gave gifts to children and I was so very happy. He pinched my cheeks and gave me a wink. His laughter echoed as he stepped out onto the porch and disappeared into the night. He even left smoke rings in the house. What more would a person need to be convinced that he was indeed REAL?
If you have been told by others that Santa is not real, I offer my story as proof. My eyes saw him, my lips touched his, my hands felt his red suit, his hair was stuck tightly to his head and so was his beard. If you believe and do not doubt, then Santa will come to visit you just like he did me. He didn’t take away my polio but God did so I was blessed with both! God is the healer and Santa Claus, is a Giver of good things! I don’t know for sure but sometimes I think that it might have been God all dressed up in that suit as Santa Claus but then I have never seen God. For now I will believe in the Giver of all good things. I’m sure there are many men in this world who fall into this category, don’t you?
Written by Sybil Shearin
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