Categorized | Opinion

Just Once a Year

By Otis Griffin

Once the Thanksgiving festivities were over, we knew Christmas was just around the corner.  This is probably the most exciting time in a small child’s life with all the drama, questions, secrets and expectations about to unravel.  Each year presented a better and bigger Christmas, something all of us looked forward to in anticipation of our toys and gifts.

As far back as I can remember, Santa Claus always came to see me although sometimes I began to wonder by some of the comments that Momma and Daddy would make.  Such as, “you had better be a good boy, mind yo’ manners, behave yo’ self.”  Of course, the favorite phrase ‘ack-right’ chunked in at the last breath.  Never failed.  This meant watch your “p’s and q’s” for us redneck Southerners.

About two or three weeks before Santy was to pay everyone a visit, the subject would come up at school and each youngster would start telling what he or she wanted for Christmas.  Very seldom did anyone ever say I’m gonna’ get this or that, because you didn’t know what Santy might want to bring as it depended on just how good you had been all year.

Neighbor, a few times I sat down and pondered the situation and said softly under my breath, “I hope Santy wasn’t watching back last summer when Paul, Lynn, Arvis, Bud, Emerson and I went skinny dipping at Mud Hollow when we were told not to go.”  Boy, I hope I slipped that little trip by unnoticed.  But, you never know.  A few times on the playground we actually were afraid Santy was going to by-pass us and sleigh ride to the rest of the kids.  My heart jumped up past my throat.

The only way we could come up with our presents from Santy was the fall Sears and Roebucks catalog delivered in the mail.  Also, we usually got a Spiegel catalog, but there weren’t as many treasures in that small book.  So most of the time we just quickly skimmed it and went to the granddaddy of all catalogs.

As Christmas got near and when I got home from school, I would skip and ask Momma, “where was the big Sears catalog?”  Sure enough, it would be handy over on the corner table in the kitchen.  I was so young that I didn’t realize at the time, but the corners of some of the pages were turned down and neatly creased.  Forget the fat part of the catalog, since all I wanted was the toy section.  Initially Momma and Daddy only mentioned Santy every few days, but as time drew closer the subject came up everyday.

Beloved, I knew what I wanted.  Everything in the book.  That was easy, but it didn’t work that way.  At this age I’m not sure why Santy made his rules the way he did, but each youngster was only allowed so much as Southerners share with each other. We were told if we get too much than other kids would be deprived, so this selecting process gets a little tedious, toucheous and difficult.  What if Don got one of my toys?  Then I would be missing my favorite.  That’s not fair.  So when we had recess on the school playground, we got in a huddle to check and see what each tree bender wanted so we wouldn’t mess up Santy’s long register.

Momma and Daddy told me to make a list of what I wanted and check it twice, ’cause Santy would know who was “naughty or nice”.  These flashbacks of naughty this past summer are driving me crazy, but I’m scared to apologize.  I hope no one really knows for sure.  Trying to out “figger” grownups is agonizing, as they always know what you are thinking.

I Hope Santy Couldn’t See From His House….GLORY!

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