I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I
remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the way my big sister
dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know
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 I knew they were
world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true.
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
world-famous cinnamon bun.
"Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store 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," she said, "and buy something for someone
who needs it I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and
walked out of Kerby's I was only eight years old. I'd often gone
shopping with my mother, but I 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 Bobby Decker. He
was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs.
Pollock's grade-two class.
Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to
recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher
that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a
cough; he didn't have a good coat.
I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I
would buy Bobby 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, ma'am," I replied shyly. "It's for Bobby." The nice lady smiled at
me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn't
get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a
That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the
coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and
wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it. Grandma said that Santa always
insisted on secrecy.
Then she drove me over to Bobby 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 Bobby'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 going."
I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on
his step, pounded his door 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 Bobby.
Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering,
beside my Grandma, in Bobby 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.
I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.
May you always have LOVE to share, HEALTH to spare and FRIENDS that care.
Lighter Side Archive