I'm an old guy now and it's been a lot of years since I sat on your knee and whispered what I wanted for Christmas. It's been a long time since I wrote you a letter too. I must admit that I didn't always believe you were true. I forgot about you when I got to be a man and my dreams were of other things. For a long time Christmas was only a busy holiday filled with schedules, bills, and obligations. I had forgotten what a wonderful thing believing in Santa Claus can be. It is my grandchildren who have reminded me.
When I was a kid you were magic, Santa Claus. You always seemed to know just what I wanted and just what I needed. There were years when I didn't get to sit on your knee for one reason or another, and you still brought me just what I wanted all the same. It could only be magic. There was no other explanation, except for the stupid elf theory. And I caught on early that the "elf theory" could not be validated. Mom said she saw elves peeking through the windows, but the little buggers never left any tracks in the snow that I could find. And I looked real close.
And then I had a hard time swallowing the "reindeer on the rooftop theory" too. Dad had a bay mare named Sun Bonnett who must have been as big as a reindeer, and she couldn't fly. And I knew that with those iron horseshoes she would have slid off the steep, snow-covered roof and probably knocked herself goofy. I couldn't even imagine a whole herd of reindeer slipping and sliding around up there on that roof and not tearing off all the shingles. Dad would have run outside and yelled at them to get off the darn roof before he got the shotgun. Some dads might have called the cops, but my dad was the cop. No reindeer ever knocked the shingles off our house, I can tell you that.
And then there is the "coming down the chimney theory" too. Our house had a coal furnace and it was in the basement under the house. Coming down the chimney would have put you in the firebox and not in the living room, so I'm pretty sure you didn't do that, Santa Claus. And even if you could have gotten out of the stupid furnace, you were still not in the house. You were in a basement with a door that opened only to the great outdoors, right back where you started from. And dad always locked the doors to our house real tight at night, so I know you couldn't have gotten in without a key. And even if you had a key, dad would have heard you open the door and you would have had the barrel of a .357 in your ear faster than you could say "Merry Christmas."
And then there is the "Santa is everywhere theory." I just knew that you couldn't be at the church, the school, the company Christmas party, and panhandling shoppers in front of all the big stores all at once. Mom said some of the guys in red suits were your helpers, but I knew you had more class than to keep some of those guys on your payroll. Something suspicious was going on there.
And so you see, Santa, I've always been a doubtful old Grinch, and I've had a tough time believing in you. But now, as I get older, I'm beginning to believe more and more. I look into the faces of my grandchildren and listen to them talk about you with clasped hands and wistful smiles, and I just can't help believing with them.
Grandkids, Christmas, and Santa Claus make me feel like a kid again. My sons might call it a second childhood, but I don't care. My second childhood is more fun than my first. I'm smart enough not to be too critical this time. I'll let my heart follow those bright eyes and big smiles anywhere.
So happy trails, Santa Claus. Drop off a fruitcake if you have one left over. I'll leave a light on for you.
P.S. Watch out for grandma, she still believes in big presents and Christmas surprises.