Monday, December 05, 2016


Yes, it’s that time of the year again! Santa is coming to town.

I hated Santa, I never said that out loud, but I did hate him. My parents held him over my head as a bargaining chip. “Joseph, go to bed, Santa is watching! Joseph, eat those peas, Santa is watching!”

Often we would sit around the kitchen table, and as my folks tried to convince me I had to do this or that a knock would come out of nowhere. Mom: “Did you hear that! That was Santa Joseph, you better behave!”

One day while sitting at the kitchen table, there was this big black and thick stove pipe that led from our cast iron stove to the ceiling. Being inquisitive as 5-year olds are, I asked how Santa was able to get into our house without a chimney for a fireplace. Dad pointed to the stove pipe and I asked: “Isn’t that too skinny for Santa to come down in?” “No, he’s Santa!”

These days and for the last 20-years or so, I play Santa for a dance for people with disabilities and a home for some of those very same people. My how the tables changed! They tell me all kinds of things, and all kinds of questions, so of which I can’t answer, or requests beyond my power. Yet they persist in trying to get me to commit to a promise I can’t make. Funny how things work out.

When my kids were young and still believers, we would drive home from my parent’s home on Christmas Eve, see a plane in the night sky with flashing lights and I would tell them that that was Santa and his reindeer. My son would be all excited so I would tell him: “When we get home, you better go right to bed or he won’t come!” This worked wonders as I needed the time to assemble all the toys.

And so I wonder what my little granddaughter is believing, or what her father is leading her to believe, is he watching? Is Santa listening?

Christmas elicits many childhood memories, all wonderful and magical and filled with great moments. I hope my little Darby Shea can have her own starting this year.


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