My belief in Santa Clause was terminated many, many years ago when my young mind finally realized why Santa, The Elf, and my Dad all had the same handwriting...because they were the same person. and for a while, I even believed that my dad was Santa Clause himself, the man who flew around in a magic sleigh and delivered toys to children on Christmas Eve. the neighbor kids had nothing on me, then. they might think they're better, faster, smarter or had cooler parents than I did. fools. my own father was Santa Clause and nothing stands against that, I don't care how many fruit rollups your parents buy you (my parents would never buy me fruit rollups). yeah, for a while there I was livin' the dream of every five-year-old.
Until that fateful day when my friend Samantha and I compared our "Santa notes" and discovered that the handwriting was completely different. it was then, standing there with a sick feeling in our guts, that we realized we'd been duped. Santa was not my father, or anyone else's father. Santa was a lie.
Since that day of horror I've been forced to live my life with the realization that there is no large, jolly old man who climbs down the chimney on Christmas Eve and leaves presents by the fireside. there was no longer any magic in hanging the stockings by the fireplace or leaving cookies and milk on the table for Santa...because it was nothing but a lie. just a big, fat overrated lie. it wasn't all bad, though. I finally stopped wasting my time writing letters to Santa, which probably got thrown into the trash the minute they got to the post office. I stopped dozing at my window, forcing my exhausted body to stay awake and alert, just hoping to catch a glimpse of Santa and his reindeer flying through the sky, Rudolph leading the way through the night. and I stopped losing my temper when some older, less gullible child told me there was no Santa. I now knew the truth, and what a bitter-sweet truth it was. sweet, because I now knew there was no Santa and no longer lived in ignorance and I felt older and more mature, but bitter because I quickly realized that being ignorant was more fun.
But today, something happened that changed all of that. My delicate world that I believed to be so secure was shifted off its axis and plunged into incessant chaos. I met Santa.
Now, please don't laugh. I'm the last person in the world who would claim to believe in Santa, believe me. but after you meet someone, you tend to be more inclined to believe in them. and today, I met good old Father Christmas himself, in the flesh.
Well, okay, he didn't exactly reach out his hand and say, "Hi, my name's Kris Kringle." but he did say, "Hi, I'd like paper sacks, please." that's right, I was at the only place in the world where I would strike up a conversation with a complete stranger and ask if he wanted paper or plastic--I was at work.
So there I was. minding my own business at the cash register, doing my thing...when I saw him. It's like in those movies when the two main characters see each other for the first time. There's a mysterious lighting over their heads, and they're walking in slow motion and catch each other's eye...and depending on the movie, there's sometimes a feeling of love (in the movies where the people are destined to be together), a feeling of anger (in the movies where the people are destined to eventually fight to the death), or a feeling of curiosity (in the movies where they couldn't think of a good plot and the story goes nowhere). well, in this story, there was a feeling of "Whoa, that guy is totally Santa Clause."
It was obvious. he was sporting a long white beard, white hair, large black boots, a white long-sleeved shirt and red overalls. his eyes were that frosty blue color that I always knew Santa had, back in the day when I actually believed he existed. he was tall, well over six foot, and his countenance screamed "I'm Santa!" so much so, in fact, that I came this close to blurting, "I've been a good girl this year...can I have a trip to Switzerland, all expenses paid and a new iPod to replace the one that I accidentally fried to a crisp?" and then he would throw his head back and give a jolly laugh and say, "Ho Ho Ho...well, you've been good this year...I'll see what I can do." (And I would end up getting it, of course).
After Santa left my place of employment, carrying with him his newly purchased cereal, peaches and T-bone steaks, I got to wondering what the heck Saint Nick is doing in Lincoln Nebraska in the first place. isn't be supposed to live in the North Pole, according to ancient Christmas folklore? isn't he a little far from home? Don't they have T-bone steaks at the North Pole? then I realized that even Santa Clause would get tired of the barren arctic tundra after a few months of it. he probably has another house where he lives in the off-season, when he's not flying in his sleigh or monitoring the elves' mad toy-making skills. why he picked Lincoln Nebraska out of all the places in the world, I'll never know. maybe he's simply drawn to the Cornhuskers, since his favorite colors are obviously red and white. but who cares? it doesn't matter.
The important thing is that Santa lives.