Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas Story (Repeat)

This is long...but worth the read:


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

kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her. And, on the

way, 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; but I fled to her

that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma

always told the truth; furthermore, 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 second grade 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 any cough; he didn't have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill

with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat! 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 helpers. 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 going."

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 have not dimmed the thrill of those moments spent

shivering, beside my Grandma in Bobby Decker's bushes.

That night, Irealized 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!

Thanks Ellen S.

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