A Long Time Ago....
This was a mixed up day--of meetings at the school and
laundry and decorating the tree. Well, I've begun
decorating the tree. There are more ornaments still in
boxes, including the glass ornaments and the clothesin
reindeer and wax angels and silver snowflakes. I'll just go
through each of the Christmas boxes carefully until I find
them all and put every one on the tree.
And as I put them up, I think back to when the boys were
When Jack was about three we were listening to Christmas
songs on the radio as we made cookies. The one with the
lines "You'd better watch out, you'd better not cry, you'd
better not pout, I'm telling you why. Santa Claus is coming
to town" came on and Jack suddenly burst into tears. I
thought perhaps he'd done some small thing wrong and now he
was worried about it. I got him calmed down and asked him
what was wrong. He confirmed what I'd thought when he
exclaimed "Santa's not coming!" Wanting to give him the
opportunity to confess and ready to forgive any small
transgression he may have committed I asked him why he
didn't think Santa wasn't coming. "Because" he wailed.
"We don't live in town! We live out in the country!" Poor
little guy. It was hard for me not to laugh. I reassured
him that Santa was indeed coming and he would find us. And
And I thought about when the boys went to the little country
school which had perhaps 60 students. The Christmas program
was always held in the tiny, damp gym with each class singing songs
accompanied by a slightly out-of-tune piano. Everyone stood
up and sang Christmas songs and hymns at the end followed,
of course, by a surprise visit from Santa Claus (a farmer
some wife convinced that year to wear the Santa
costume) who handed each child a small paper sack.
One of the last Christmas programs we went to--maybe it was
the last one-- was when Hugh was four. When Hugh got his
little sack he carried it very carefully to his folding
chair and sat it with it gingerly on his knees.
"Aren't you going to open it?" I asked.
He looked at me seriously and then, very carefully and
slowly opened his bag and peered into it. Then he gave a
loud sigh, smiled and said
"Oh, an orange, a pencil, and some candies!"
"What did you think would be in there?" I asked him.
He looked at me very seriously and then whispered "Magic!"