December 25, 2020

A Memory That Always Brings a Smile

In the mid 70’s Louisa and I lived in Northern Virginia with our three wonderful youngsters: Josh, Jonathan, and Mollie. At the time, the boys were ages five and three. As Christmas approached, our neighbors had told us that the “real” Santa greeted children at a local plant nursery, but that we must be prepared to wait because this Santa was very popular.

Before heading out to see him, we discussed the boys’ hopes for Christmas. Each wanted a pedal car: Josh wanted the trendy “Green Machine,” while Jonathan wanted a more sedate “Big Wheel.” For us, the Big Wheel was no problem; they were plentiful and came assembled. But Green Machines were hard to find and came with “some assembly required.” I suggested possible alternatives, but Josh knew what he wanted, and I knew that Santa would look for a nod from me before affirming the boys’ requests.

This Santa was the real deal. When the boys reached his sleigh where they sat facing Santa with their backs to us, the big man asked them questions and listened intently. Jonathan asked about the Big Wheel; Santa noted my affirmative nod and told Jon to be expecting one. Josh was then very clear that the Green Machine was the one thing he wanted, and Santa saw me shake my head a clear “No,” but said, “Of course, I can handle that!”

Ha! The hunt was on, and a Green Machine was located at the 11th hour. A neighbor kept it at his house and to my eternal gratitude, helped assemble it. When Christmas morning arrived, Josh’s joy was as big as his confident smile when he said, “See, I told you Santa could do it!” Yes, I did see, and to this day I smile at the memory.

Eldon Rucker, Resident