Home -> The Press in the Forest -> The Long Ago -> Chapter 3

Previous Page Home Up One Level Next Page

Santa and His Reindeer


Black and White Christmas Trees

Decorative W
We always used grandmother's stocking - because it was the biggest one in the family, much larger than mother's, and somehow it seemed able to stretch more than hers. There was so much room in the foot, too - a chance for all sorts of packages.

There was a carpet-covered couch against the flowered wall in one corner of the parlor. Between the foot of it and the chimney, was the door into our bedroom. I always hung my stocking at the side of the door nearest the couch, on the theory, well-defined in my mind with each recurring Christmas, that if by any chance Santa Claus brought me more than he could get into the stocking, he could pile the overflow on the couch. And he always did!

It may seem strange that a lad who seldom heard even the third getting-up call in the morning should have awakened without any calling once a year - or that his red-night-gowned figure should have leaped from the depths of his feather bed - or that he should have crept breathless and fearful to the door where the stocking hung. Notwithstanding the ripe experience of years past, when each Christmas found the generous stocking stuffed with good things, there was always the chance that Santa Claus might have forgotten, this year - or that he might have miscalculated his supply and not have enough to go 'round - or that he had not been correctly informed as to just what you wanted - or that some accident, might have befallen his reindeer-and-sleigh to detain him until the grey dawn of Christmas morning stopped his work and sent him scurrying back to his toy kingdom to await another Yule-tide.

And so, in the fearful silence and darkness of that early hour, with stilled breath and heart beating so loudly you thought it would awaken everyone in the house, You softly opened the door - poked your arm through - felt around where the stocking ought to be, but with a great sinking in your heart when you didn't find it the first time - and finally your chubby fist clutched the misshapen, lumpy, bulging fabric that proclaimed a generous Santa Claus.

Yes, it was there!

That was enough for the moment. A hurried climb back into the warm bed - and then interminable years of waiting until your attuned ear caught the first sounds of grandmother's dressing in her nearby bedroom, and the first gleam of winter daylight permitted you to see the wondrous stocking and the array of packages on the sofa. It was beyond human strength to refrain from just one look. But alas! The sight of a dapple-grey rocking-horse with silken mane and flowing tail was too much, and the next moment you were in the room with your arms around his arched neck, while peals of unrestrained joy brought the whole family to the scene. Then it was that mother gathered you into her lap, and wrapped her skirt about your bare legs, and held your trembling form tight in her arms until you promised to get dressed if they would open just one package - the big one on the end of the sofa. After that there was always "just one more, please!" and by that time the base burner was warming up and you were on the floor in the middle of the discarded wrapping-paper, uncovering each wonderous package down to the very last - the very, very last - in the very toe of the stocking - the big round one that you were sure was a real league ball but proved to be nothing but an orange! . . .

No Santa Claus? Huh! . . .

If there isn't any Santa Claus, what does he put all the sample toys in the stores for every Christmas so boys and girls can see what they want? If he doesn't fill the stockings, who does, I'd like to know. Some folks say that father and mother do it - but s'posin, they do, it's only to help Santa Claus sometimes when he's late or overworked, or something like that.

The Spirit of Christmas is Santa Claus - else how could he get around to everybody in the whole world at exactly the same time of the night?

Green Christmas Trees

There is a new high-power motor in my garage. It came to me yesterday - Christmas. It is very beautiful, and it cost a great deal of money, a very great deal. If we were in the Little Old Town it would take us all out to Aunt Em's farm in ten minutes. (It always took her an hour to drive in with the old spotted white mare.)

I am quite happy to have this wonderful new horse of today, and there is some warmth inside of me as I walk around it in the garage while Henry, its keeper, flicks with his chamois every last vestige of dust from its shiny sides.

And yet . . . how gladly would I give it up if only I could have been in my feather bed last night - if I could have awakened at daybreak and crept softly, red-flanneled and barefooted, to the parlor door - if I could have groped for grandmother's stocking and felt its lumpy shape respond to my eager touch - and if I could have known the thrill of that dapple-grey rocking-horse when I flung my arms around its neck and buried my face in its silken mane!

Christmas Stockings

Previous Page Home Up One Level Next Page