As far back as I can remember when we killed hogs, usually around Thanksgiving, pretty soon we knew Christmas was not too far away. Sometimes on the radio during the farm report that Daddy listened to every morning, maybe the announcer would remind the farmers to keep buying Purina, Nutrena or possibly Wayne feeds at the local feed store so those country-cured hams would be ready for Christmas.
Most of the time, the fall weather was gloomy and overcast dictating we were going to have a long and cold winter, but it is that time of year. As we say in the illustrious South, “This was just right!”
Some of the kids would mention what they wanted for Christmas as they knew Santy was making and packing toys, getting ready to make that long trip to our small community. The preacha’ would tell us a few Sundays in advance about the upcoming season and possibly begin prodding some of the local folks to participate in the annual Christmas play.
Most of the houses had chimneys with either fireplaces to burn wood, or cinder grates. About the only difference is the cinder grates burned coal and the iron frame bars were bigger. We had two double cinder grates, as one connected the living room and kitchen with the other attaching the adjoining bedrooms. Well, I got down on my hands and knees and peeped up the chimney, not being sure, ole round fur face could descend the black, smoky, soot covered cavern. So I wanted to measure the stone encased area.
Daddy was relaxing in his favorite chair, reading the Press-Scimitar with one eye on the paper, one eye on me and one eye on his favorite folding ruler. I started to unfold the ruler and if you don’t really know what you are doing, consequently the ruler will snap and become kindling. Daddy knew this, but I didn’t.
However, as I hopefully started to unfold the ruler, he hollered and woke up the chickens roosting in the elm trees over about Bolton and I dropped the ruler. That was enough playing carpenter that night. Daddy assured me that Santy could and would make the descent on Christmas Eve. Forget it!!! I believed what he said.
Like everyone else, I tried to catch Santy delivering my toys. One time I got up right in the middle of his delivering, as I found only half my toys under the huge, decorated cedar tree. Daddy told me to go back to bed and go to sleep real fast, as I had scared off Santy. When I did wake up, sure enough all my treasures were under the tree like they were supposed to be. I believed Santy had taken good care of me. Another time, I thought I had seen Santy, and ran outside with the lantern swinging in the breeze. There were footprints bigger than a rain barrel right off the front steps. I learned later why they so big! I believed Santy had been there. Sure enough! Boy, ole Santy was smart as I never did catch that slick rascal no matter how hard I tried. Neither did any of my friends, but we always vowed, “ We’d git ‘im next year.”
Enjoy your time to believe just like I did...Encourage the youngsters to believe and hold on to a dream. Hey, as adults we all dream. Admit it. Let the chandelier swingers dream and believe as the real and sometimes vicious world will overtake them soon enough. Everybody has got to believe in something. Even folks that believe in nothing. I mean when you believe in nothing, even that becomes something. Think about that and chew on it.
Beloved, be there for the kids and help them believe in Santy while they can. Dream with me as they circle the Christmas tree trying to decide which play pretty they want to fetch. Hold them in your arms as they grab you around the neck and give you that big hug and kiss, telling you how much they love you and they hope Santy enjoyed his milk and cookies.
No matter how old you are, as you relax in the laid back recliner, drop of into the fantasy world for a short period of time and believe with the little angels and relive how it was when you were all excited about Santy. If you are fortunate enough and all your kids are grown, just take a few minutes and dream with them. Be careful what you dream for, as sometimes dreams come true. Hold ’em, love ’em, dream with ’em and pray with ’em as this is that time of year to Rejoice Dear Hearts!
Let me hear a big ole jolly “Ho Ho Ho” deep in the heart of dixie where we all say – GLORY!
Otis Griffin is the author of the book “Southern Raisin.” He was born in Charleston, Tenn., and attended Rosemark Grammar School and Bolton High School. For more from Griffin, log on to shakeragproductions.com.