Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Christmas Past...

I'll never forget the Christmas that Santa came out to the country.

The family had gathered together to celebrate at The Ranch. It was nothing more than a little red cabin located on a few acres of prime, deer hunting real estate in central Texas that my grandparents owned.

We would sit in the evenings on the back porch which overlooked a small creek. The deer and wild turkey would come in to feed. Papa would tell stories. Mema would shell pecans.

Baths were taken in an old claw foot tub. Johnny Carson would play on an out of date Sony television that was more static than picture.

Me and my cousins, Brice and Amy, would sleep on a pallet laid out on the floor while loud snores from the menfolk would fill the room.

A wood burning stove would create a coziness I've rarely experienced since.

We would awaken to Mema cooking sausage and gravy, baking biscuits, and stirring a batch of hot cocoa.

Papa had cut a mesquite tree that had been sparsely decorated with ornaments that Mema had made. What it lacked in ornaments were made up for with lots of twinkling, multi-colored lights. It was beautiful.

On Christmas Eve, we bundled up in our Texas-grade winter wear, and went outside to play. That's when we heard it...the sound of jingle bells.

There, coming down the hill, was a man dressed all in red. He was riding in a small buggy which was pulled by our Shetland pony, Lightning.

We couldn't believe our eyes. It was Santa!

I remember the three of us not questioning the validity of this occurrence one bit. We were sure to leave out cookies and to go to bed with nary a bit of fussing.

I learned years later that the man who lived on the next property over and was known to drink a bit had also seen Santa. Apparently, he hadn't questioned the validity of this occurrence either.

The next morning we awoke to a tree flanked by gifts, all wrapped in the Sunday comics.

Mema had sewn us girls Barbie clothes. They were perfect. Better than anything that could be bought in a store. We spent the day playing in front of the wood burning stove, enjoying the post-gift opening joy that only a kid can know.

There are some Christmases that shine brighter than others.

Their magic never seems to fade.

Here's hoping you find some magic of your own this season.