There was no good reason that I could ever figure out then, and to this day I still don't know why he scared me. However, the man in the bright red suit, with that long, white beard, jingled when he walked. That wasn't normal. Even in my childish mind, I knew no one was supposed to jingle as they crunched along the snowy street.
I don't remember at what period in my childhood that I first became aware that Santa existed. I do remember that when I was nine I figured out it was a physical impossibility for one man to stop at every house in the world in a single night. I told mom of my findings and all she did was smile and ask me, "Are you sure about that?" I was a kid. But I got good grades in school. I was sure.
But that one day a year, when Santa arrived with a big red sack on his back, every kid for miles around waited for just one thing. No, it wasn't to sit on his lap and say what we wanted for Christmas. It wasn't to have our photo taken with him. None of those things existed in our little town. The reason we followed him from the town square and all around the shopping area was for just one thing. His bag was stuffed with small brown bags filled with Christmas candy. Enough for every kid around. And for that I braved the cold, the snow, and the jingly man.
In addition to that, my sisters and I found time to search the house, snooping through closets, under beds, and even the scary attic, just to see what surprises we might unearth. We never found any of our presents. To this day I have no idea where mom hid them.
When I was eight, all I wanted under the tree was a furry jacket and stadium boots, a sort of cross between today's Ugg's and snow boots. I yearned for nothing else. When mom requested a list, those two things were right at the top, followed by some Nancy Drew books and maybe new crayons and drawing paper.
|If my feet were|
visible, you'd see
my new boots too.
In a time when the world
is in chaos, may you find
the abiding peace and
joy that the birth of our