True story – sometimes, Santa likes to mix it up. It’s a little something he likes to do so we true believers will have great stories to tell, even, say, forty years later.
The year was 1972. I’d just learned from Mom, that Christmas was to come early, as the real Christmas Day would find my family burning up highway. We’d moved from McKinney to the east Texas town of Nacogdoches only months before. We’d return to our hometown to celebrate the day with our loved ones. Because of this, according to Mother, we’d received some sort of special dispensation, allowing the Big Guy to visit my brother and sister and me well before Christmas Eve.
The notion of Santa starting at our house then back tracking to the rest of the world boggled my mind. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how it would all work out. I worried that he might not even have our new address. And, now, with a new day ordered for us, to boot, well, the whole thing just spelled disaster.
I pictured the new kids who lived in my old house back in McKinney waking to find a minor miracle had occurred. Not to mention, I’d recently heard the big kids at my new school whispering, calling into question, everything I knew to be true about the Man who had gifted me yearly for as long as I could remember. I didn’t want to, but a part of me pictured waking up in Nacogdoches to find that nothing special had happened after all. The anxiety of it played in an endless loop in my mind, making it too difficult to concentrate, much less sleep.
My sister and I posted ourselves at her bedroom window. From our perch, we could see the length of Ferguson Street. Plus, being upstairs, we had a bird’s eye view of the horizon as well. We fell asleep sitting sentry.
The next morning we ran down stairs. Just as I’d secretly dreaded, there were no extra un-wrapped Santa gifts under the tree. Clearly, Santa had forgotten, or, he’d accidentally dropped our gifts off in McKinney. Or, worse yet, those big kids at school might be correct. My lip quivered involuntarily, and my eyes brimmed with tears as reality set in. Nothing special had happened after all.
“In here!” my brother yelled from the back of the house. We followed the sound of his voice. As we made our way back, we found my brother standing in the middle of his bedroom proudly displaying the B-B gun he’d asked Santa for. “He hid our presents in our rooms!” he said, proud to have solved the no-presents-under-the-tree shocker we’d awakened to.
My sister and I raced back upstairs. Sure enough, sitting near her bed, was the dollhouse she’d requested. How did we miss it earlier? I crossed the hall on quick feet to examine my room. Nothing appeared to be out of place. Nothing appeared to be added. Upon closer inspection, I confirmed beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Santa had failed to find me. I pictured a little girl in McKinney waking up to find a real electric organ, sitting in the big fat middle of her bedroom, the one that used to be my bedroom. Why did we ever have to move?
About that time, my Mom yelled up the stairs, “Well what do you know? Santa must’ve thought my room was your room! You will never believe what I just found next to my bed!”
I ran down the stairs, tearing around the corner to the master bedroom. Sure enough, next to my parents, bed, sat a real electric organ, the exact one I’d written to Santa about. The big “To” tag had my name on it, and was signed, “Love, Santa”.
To this day, no matter where I live, or when I actually celebrate Christmas, Santa is still able to find me. Sometimes he leaves me a little something under the tree. Sometimes he hides my gift and makes me look for it. Like I said, Santa likes to mix it up. True story.
Merry Christmas Y’all, Michele