Everyone has a favourite Xmas story from their youth and I seem to have many. Christmas was the one time of the year when everyone in our home made a special effort to behave well and become somewhat more helpful.In our home we were crowded to say the least and to have privacy, well it was a relative term. There was a particular area of our house that made eavesdropping easy. Above our kitchen stove was a register which enabled the heat to rise to the rooms above but also one could hear the conversations from people talking downstairs.
Late one night I could not sleep as I was thinking about Christmas and Santa Claus. Yes I did believe in the jolly old fellow and it gave us a way to believe and hope for miracles.I heard Mom and Dad talking in the kitchen below and I crept over and listened to their conversation. I could see them sitting by the stove with Mom having a cup of tea in her hand and Dad in his chair smoking his pipe. The smoke wafted up through the register and smelled so good. To this day it is the tobacco smoke that defines the smell of my Dad.
My mother was serious looking and they were talking about Christmas and what to get for the kids.It was about 1942 and Dad was working in the coal pit and things were tough during those days but everyone had a job. The thought that they were thinking about our gifts shocked me or at least confused me because we already asked Santa for what we wanted.
It was only two nights ago we wrote on a paper and put it in the flames of the coal stove so Santa would get it on time. Why were they worried? For the first time I started to have doubts but I did not want to as the myth was so good or to good to be true.I went back to bed and slept thinking about this mystery.
Next day I confronted m Mom and asked her if there was a Santa. She looked at me with that motherly look and said in the most convincing way that indeed there was a Santa. Why was I asking her and did someone tell me there was not a Santa? I told her I just wondered and I was truly assured and never brought it up again for several years. That year Santa did come and I got my home made sleigh and hockey stick and my faith was renewed.
Today young people lose that wonder and mystery only too quickly. Growing up and having to face reality sure was a bummer.I liked that feeling of the supernatural and never recovered completely until I became a Father and became the holder of the secrets of Christmas for my children.