I have to admit, it’s been a while since I’ve written you. Shame on me.
You no doubt recall, as I do, the days when you told our mom the best way to let you know what we wanted for Christmas was to take a look through the Montgomery Ward catalog. Most years there was a three item limit. Very reasonable to my now parental mind; but, oh, how circumscript to an eight year old!
Surely you were watching as I spent countless hours one December daydreaming about life with a particular dress-up doll, who came with a wedding trousseau, checkered travel outfit, fully realized play ensemble, and a cozy nightie. She awaited me under the tree that Christmas morning in her very own wardrobe/carrying case. Even now I remember how my 18 inch tall friend smelled when I kissed the top of her brunette head goodnight. She was a little girl’s delight for months and months.
Not so the washing machine you had to take back to the North Pole to repair after it leaked all over the floor with my first load of dolly laundry. I guess your elves weren’t able to get the right parts, because I never did see it again. Too bad. It would have fit in perfectly with my brown, metal kitchen set, the refrigerator of which had a separate freezer door on top, just like our real one. I never minded washing dishes in my very own sink, where hundreds of gallons of imaginary water flowed, making the chore fun; and the oven cooked up the most sumptuous meals ever seen — or not.
And what about the can opener that came with the pretend groceries? It popped the special blue lids off the yellow cans much easier than my mom’s. She had to squeeze and crank all at once. I had only to turn the handle and voilà!
So many toys. So much joy.
Sometimes, the boys got the really cool presents, like the GI Joe Jeep I hijacked — much to my brothers’ chagrin — so Barbie could ride to her dates in style. There was also that Godzilla knock-off with the bright red forked tongue. It spit marbles and roared. I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to bring aggie-shooting toys to kids any more. Oh, well.
Without doubt, my favorite memory of you is the when I heard you land on our rooftop. It had to be you, because my mother was out at Midnight Mass and my father was down the hall, keeping an ear on us from his Naugahyde easy chair. I suppose he must have fallen asleep, because I don’t know how anyone could have missed that thud overhead. It made me freeze in my sleeping bag at the foot of our parents’ bed, where we camped-out on Christmas Eve as a special treat
For what seemed like a long time I held my breath, listening for another thump, reluctant to wake my brothers, figuring they’d not believe me anyway. So there I lay, wide awake and waiting — just like I’ve waited every December 24th since. You’ve been much quieter for decades, but I haven’t given up listening and hoping.
And so, Santa, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for all you’ve given me over the years — the goodies, the memories, and most important of all, the faith that you’re out there still — and always will be.
Best wishes to you and yours for a very Merry Christmas!