A Christmas Mystery

Old brown shoes4

Years ago, a friend of mine shared a story with me about her grandfather.  I thought it was such a cool story that I am reprising it for you here.  Of course, there is quite of a bit of embellishment (embellishment meaning combined stories, stretched truths and potentially some downright lies!)  that has been added, but hey, that’s just the way things go… it’s the holiday season!  Grab a coffee and a sweet roll and enjoy!…

It was so warm snuggled up under those four quilts.  As a matter of fact, the weight of them made it feel almost impossible to turn over.  I could tell by the way my nose felt that it was still bitterly cold in the room.  I could hear the steady hum of the blower on the Seigler space heater blowing as hard as it could to try and warm the house.  Unfortunately, the heat from downstairs just couldn’t seem to fight its way past the cold to get from the sitting room all the way up the stairs to the bedrooms.  But I didn’t even really care, because it was Christmas Eve!

As I lay there, listening to the constant hum coming from the blowers on the heater down the stairs, suddenly I heard some noise.  Could it be?  I held my eyes shut real tight for fear that I was right.  We all know that the last thing we would ever want to happen would be for Santa to make his way up the stairs and catch us awake.  We all know what happens when that occurs… no presents!!  I would just die if he didn’t leave me some of the items I had on my list.  I had been working on putting it together ever since the day after my birthday.  And while it was quite long, I would be okay if I didn’t get it all.  Actually, I was just hoping that somehow some of those “incidences” that occurred this year had kinda slipped his mind… or this whole effort on my part would have been futile for sure.

All of a sudden, everything went quiet.  What did this mean?  It did not feel like it has been long enough for him to have finished already.  Surely he couldn’t tell from downstairs that I was still awake.  I just couldn’t take it any more.  I had to see for myself.  So I got up, slipped on my robe and started to creep down the stairs.  I was careful to step over the fourth one from the bottom because it always creaked so badly that if he happened to still be there, I would definitely give myself away.  That is what happened to me last summer when Grandpa Sam caught me, slipping out in the middle of the night to meet Joey down by the pond… but that’s another story.

As I got to the bottom of the stairs, I could tell the Christmas tree lights were still on.  It gave more of a glow to the front room than actual light, almost appearing as if a thousand candles had been lit in a very small little space.  The house was already filled with the smells of the holidays.  Mom and granny had been preparing many of the cakes and pies that I love so much the night before so they too could have some time to spend with us children in the morning.

I crouched behind the big overstuffed chair just inside the hallway door where I could get a good look all around the room without being detected.  Or at least that was what I thought.  As I peered around the chair, I could see him plain as day!  I immediately recognized him, even from the back.  The red hat with white fur trim…the red jacket and big black belt… the huge bag with all the gifts…. It was Santa!!

All of a sudden, he stopped unloading his bag and stood up.  I crouched even lower trying to make myself as small as possible.  I wished I had never come down those stupid stairs!  He’s going to take my presents and put them back in his bag for sure!!  He slowly turned and looked right at me.  I recognized the happiness and cheer in his eyes.  It was at though I knew him on a very personal level… well of course I did!  It was Santa, right?  How could I not know him… and he know me.  He began to smile and I swear I heard a low chuckle.  He didn’t say a word but gave me a reassuring wink, turned around and started emptying his bag once again.

I slipped out from behind the chair and made my way back up the stairs, filled with excitement and anticipation about all that tomorrow would hold for me.  The one thing that I have got to remember though… I’ve got to remember to ask granny why Santa would have been wearing Grandpa Sam’s old brown shoes…  Now that’s a real mystery to me.

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