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Archive for November, 2006

A Lesson For Us All


I BELIEVE IN SANTA CLAUS-author unknown

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid.
I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day 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. I fled to her that
day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma
always told the truth, and 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 grade-two 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 a 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 haven’t dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering,
beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker’s bushes. That night, I realized
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!

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