Christmas can awake many memories. Of wished for toys magically appearing under the tree. Of family dinners and relatives and friends stopping by to wish all a Merry Christmas. Sometimes it was different. Those memories are of Christmas trees thrown through front windows or of waiting on Christmas Eve for the headlights of a father’s car to appear coming down the street. Before six pm and all might be OK. Much later and Christmas was over before it started. There is, however, one particular Christmas, or rather Christmas Eve, that stands out from all the rest. It was when a not so little boy named Jimi learned there truly was a Santa Claus.
So, I need you to play Santa Claus for me on Christmas Eve.
I’d love to, Tom, but I’m working 4 to 12. Otherwise, I would. (fingers crossed).
Oh, come on. I’ve got a really good outfit all ready and besides, you’re the supervisor and you can take off a few minutes to make a lot of kids happy. Really happy.
Why don’t you do it?
I can’t do it. All the kids will recognize me. They won’t recognize you.
Nah, I can’t. It will be busy and we may be short handed. Seriously.
Come on. You know it won’t get busy until late and just think of the kids. Some of them don’t have fathers around and this will really be special.
How many kids? (I could already feel myself caving in to big brother’s logical persuasion)
Only a few. Mostly Nikki’s family. And the girls will be there to help. (Nikki was Tommy’s Ex, but a very compatible Ex and the “girls” were Tommy’s daughters, and I loved them)
OK. But, only for no more than 15 minutes or so.
Yeah, yeah. Great. And, oh, I’m making a list of all the kids and what they did good and bad this past year. You know, Santa’s List. And come down the street carrying the gift sack and ringing a bell.
How many kids are there going to be? What sack and what bell?
Don’t worry, I’ll get you everything.
And so, shortly before 6:00 pm on Christmas Eve I retrieved from my personal car my outfit, a sea-bag sized sack weighing at least 50 pounds and a harness strap with brass bells. And a sheet of paper… with about 30 names on it! Ah, brother Tom. What a conniver! After telling those that needed to know that I’d be on “special assignment” for a short time I drove, fully costumed over my “work clothes”, to my brother’s house. Luckily, it was only 5 minutes away.
Parking around the corner, hefting my sack and ring-jingling the bells for all they were worth, I clomped to my brother’s front door. The door opened and what seemed like an invasion of Lilliputians swarmed Ol’ Santa.
45 minutes later Santa was finished with picture taking, handing out presents, urging the kiddies to be nicer to their siblings the coming year and congratulating them on the little life victories of childhood. Oh, how they were amazed that Santa really knew what was up – no fooling him!
Good bye, children. See you next year! Ho, ho, ho.
Off I went, dragging the now empty sack and giving the bells a few jingles and shouting, ho, ho, ho – just in case. Rounding the corner, there he was. Jimi.
Now, everyone knows, Christmas is the time for giving. And Jimi, true to the spirit, was giving. Or at least trying to. Giving to himself, that is. For, just a few feet in front of Santa, in the warm glow of street lamps, Jimi was busy jamming a metal shim into a car door in an attempt open it… without a key. And that car just happened to be piled high with wrapped presents.
Hey, what are you doing?
Hi, Santa! Merry !%#@&)# Christmas!
Poor Jimi. High and busted.
You’re under arrest.
Whaat? And with that Jimi started his getaway, only to run into another street light.
Fishing through my outfit, I was finally able to retrieve the cuffs and snap them onto Jimi before he could utter another, “What the @&$*”? As a matter of fact, that was all Jimi could manage to say, over and over, as we drove to the station and up the ramp to the sally-port doors.
Joe, the booking officer, opened the doors and gave out a hearty, Hello Santa! What do we have here?
Oh, a very naughty boy, I’m afraid.
Well, come in, Santa. We’ll give him a nice warm bed for the night.
Ho, ho, ho. In you go, lad.
What the @$#&?
Ugh, ugh. No more bad words. It’s Christmas, said, Joe.
A few minutes later, after Jimi was told what he had done wrong, he was told he could make a phone call. He then made his second mistake that night. He called his mother.
Ma, it’s Jimi. I‘m in jail, Ma. Nothing bad, Ma. I just… Ma, I got arrested by @!$%*#@ Santa Claus.
And so, Jimi went to bed that night no doubt dreaming of Sugar Plum Fairies, shiny shims and Santa with handcuffs.
Ho, ho, ho!
Merry Christmas, Everyone!
Let there be Peace on Earth!