Santa Claus, TheTrueStory

I remember my first Christmas party with Grandma. I was just a kid. I
remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big
sister dropped the bomb: “There is no Santa Claus,” she jeered. “Even
dummies know that!”

My grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that
day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma
always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a
whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her world-famous cinnamon buns.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told
her everything. She was ready for me.

“No Santa Claus!” she snorted. “Ridiculous! Don’t believe it. That
rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad.
Now, put on your coat, and let’s go”

“Go? Go where, Grandma?” I asked. I hadn’t even finished my second
cinnamon bun.

“Where” turned out to be Kerby’s General Store, the one store in town
that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through
its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those
days. “Take this money and buy something for someone who needs it.
I’ll wait for you in the car.” Then she turned and walked out of

I was only eight years old. I’d often gone shopping with my mother,
but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed
big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas
shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching
that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy
it for.

I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors,
the kids at school, the people who went to my church. I was just about
thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobbie Decker. He was a kid
with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs.
Pollock’s grade-two class.

Bobbie Decker didn’t have a coat. I knew that because he never went
out for recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note,
telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that
Bobbie Decker didn’t have a cough, and he didn’t have a coat. I
fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy
Bobbie Decker a coat. I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood
to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.

“Is this a Christmas present for someone?” the lady behind the
counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down.

“Yes,” I replied shyly. “It’s … for Bobbie.”

The nice lady smiled at me. I didn’t get any change, but she put the
coat in a bag and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and
ribbons, and write, “To Bobbie, From Santa Claus” on it — Grandma
said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to
Bobbie Decker’s house, explaining as we went that I was now and
forever officially one of Santa’s helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobbie’s house, and she and I
crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then
Grandma gave me a nudge. “All right, Santa Claus,” she whispered, “get

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present
down on his step, pounded his doorbell and flew back to the safety of
the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the
darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood

Forty years haven’t dimmed the thrill of those moments spent
shivering, beside my grandma, in Bobbie Decker’s bushes. That night, I
realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what
Grandma said they were: ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we
were on his team.

-via UHS

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