In Search of the Real Santa Claus
I’m going out on a limb here and telling you a true Christmas story. I think this was the catalyst for my deep and abiding love of the Christmas season.
I was six, living in Colorado Springs. We had probably not been stationed there more than a few months but I remember being in the first grade there. I also remember being bone cold walking to school in my pink wool coat, leggings, and hat.
Dad had returned from a tour of duty in Korea and my baby sister was just learning to walk on the hardwood floors my parents had refinished for a reduced rent. I loved the area as a stream ran close to our house and I would sit for hours listening to it burble.
Military families at that time were often struggling with a shortfall of income to expense. To make ends meet, we often got together at the end of the month with other enlisted military families to pool food resources to feed the whole bunch. Christmas was just not on the list of needs and I don’t remember having one before this one.
Six year old’s at school were all excited about Santa Claus. They brought me up to speed and I asked my parents about a tree. Well, dad decided to see what could be done. We piled in our beat-up old car with no heat and took a drive to the woods to see if dad could cut one down. How was I to know we couldn’t afford to buy one?
Dad got out his trusty pocket knife and went to work on a small sapling. It wouldn’t budge to the dull blade. I was heartbroken but too cold to complain. Heading back into the house my mom and dad went to un-swaddle my sister. As I stood at the dark door frame, there was a shadow to my right. I called out and asked my parents to come look.
There on the dark porch of our lonely little house, stood a good-sized Christmas tree leaning against the wall. No note nor another human around anywhere. Santa Claus had brought us our very own tree. I don’t think we even had a tree stand but mom and dad just looked at each other so perplexed that I could tell they had no clue where it came from. I was already an experienced reader of people so I was certain they weren’t putting on for my benefit. Santa Claus was re
I believed in Santa for the rest of my life. The Santa that lives in the hearts of kind people who know how to silently and anonymously reach out and give aid to a struggling family. Santa taught me that there was good in a world that is too often demanding and cruel. I didn’t need toys; I had a tree and the scent was luscious. For many years after, while my siblings were still young, I would sit with them in our room while we waited for Santa to come. Then we finally heard the tinkling of his bells way up in the air as he made his way to the top of our apartment building. No, we didn’t need a fireplace. Santa magically dropped the few items for us right through the walls.
My parents never knew who put the tree there but I found out later that there was a neighbor who tried to bring my mother a chicken to cook for dinner. Problem was, the chicken was still alive and mom didn’t know how to cook. She gave it back. They took it home, dressed it, cooked it and brought it back. There is good in the world year round and sometimes I call it Santa Claus.
Do you still believe?
May your holiday be everything your heart needs to be full.
From my heart to yours,