Saturday, December 26, 2009

Post of Christmas Past

Joyce and I went to Walmart this morning to restock on a few items we'd depleted over Christmas. As we drove home from the store, talking about what a wonderful Christmas we had with our sons (and their charming brides and our granddaughter, of course), I mentioned that I'd once had a very disappointing Christmas. Upon hearing my woeful tale, my darling told me, "You really ought to blog that story." And since I always do whatever my wife tells me ...

It's probably the Christmas of 1956 -- I'm on the brink of turning five. Mom has taken us to the Sears store at Five Points (you know -- where Piedras, Pershing and Elm converge) and we (my two big brothers and I) are anxiously waiting to sit on Santa's lap. Now understand, I've never been fooled by the velour duds and that ridiculous fake beard... (Well, perhaps I should say, "My oldest brother has never allowed me to be fooled by the velour duds and ridiculous fake beard" -- at least, not since he himself once broke a gift from Santa and Mom let slip, "I didn't buy that just for you to break it first chance you get!" So Joel (seeking to spare Roy and me the trauma of having to jut out our lower lips and tearfully answer Mom, "But Santa gave me that...") had taken upon himself that heavy cross of making sure other innocents were never suckered by those lying parents of ours. But I digress.

Mom has taken us to Sears to sit on the lap of this so-called "Santa" (a Santa who bears a striking resemblance in both voice and face to Red Brown, the host of Channel Four's local "Saturday Circus" children's program). We know Red isn't Santa, and Mom knows we know, but we all go along with the charade since we all get something useful out of this quid pro quo: Mom gets actionable intelligence and we get the opportunity to offer helpful pointers on the most desirable Christmas booty.

But as I was saying, Mom has taken us to Sears to talk to Santa, and after the most boring five minutes of my entire life, Red Brown (er ... Santa) hoists me up and plops me down on his left knee with the question, "And what's your name?"

As if the real Santa wouldn't know that! I think to myself. But to the guy in the flashy suit I mumble: "Bobby..."

"So tell me, Bobby, what do you want for Christmas?"

Without a moment's hesitation I shout: "A TRUCK!!!"

"Have you been a good boy?"

To myself I think: Gee, that's such an open-ended question. It just begs for clarification of terms. But to Santa I fib: "Uh hunh..."

Santa buys it. A second later I'm standing next to Mom while Roy proceeds to tell Santa that same whopper about his deportment. Mom inquires, "So what did you tell Santa you want for Christmas?"

Again, without the slightest hesitation, I shout: "A TRUCK!!!"

Mom doesn't flinch or make any of those "Well-I'm-not-sure-if-Santa-can..." noises, so I'm very encouraged.

Long story short, by the time the big day comes, I'm absolutely convinced Mom has bought me the truck I so desperately want. When the time comes to receive my big present, I'm surprised that Mom directs my attention to a rather small package under the tree.

In tearing off the wrappings I confirm the worst. Aw crap! Mom has completely misunderstood -- she's bought me a fricking TOY truck! Oh well, it'll do for now. Maybe I'll get what I want next year ... when I'm big enough to reach the pedals.


joyce said...

and just where were you going to drive in a real truck?

Bob said...

Drive? Gee, I hadn't thought that far forward.

Theresa said...

Five year old Bob - "Gee, that's such an open-ended question. It just begs for clarification of terms."

Why was I not surprised that you wanted a real truck?

Jerry said...

Yeah, but you would have had to park it on the street on Van Buren and it would have been stolen or smashed into by a drunk.

Just be glad that you didn't get your wish, along with the attendant personal grief.

Bob said...

I could easily have parked my truck on the street without fear of errant traffic. In 1956 Van Buren (or as I called it "Ban Burrin") was not a very busy street. Our house and the duplex were the only houses on the block. By the time the triplets were born the entire south side of the street had been built out, but up until around 1960 the north side was just a sticker-strewn gully that ran from behind the duplex and became Cranfill Street.

What five-year-old boy doesn't want a real truck?

Mrs. JP said...

Maybe you forgot to tell him the make and model. You can't leave these details out!

joyce said...

Mrs. JP is right! If you had been more precise, they would have explained that you'd poke your eye out...