Several years ago today, when we were only adults – no grandchildren in Mom & Dad’s house yet – we had a surprise visitor. The ho-ho-ho jolly jelly belly man walked into the middle of our gift giving on Christmas Eve. We grown kids all stopped and smiled. Our eyes twinkled. Was this a mistake? Had he brought this bag of goodies to the wrong house? Was he looking for the gaggle of giggling grandchildren at our next-door neighbors? “Has everyone been good this year?” Definitely. We all nodded “yes.” Then Santa opened his bag and worked his way to each of us, shuffling through the piles of wrapping paper on the living room floor. To each he gave a candy cane and said, “Merry Christmas!” as we peered into that face wondering who this bearded Santa helper was.
The rhythm of candy-cane-giving stopped when Santa got to Bill. Santa gave him a questioning look and said something like, “I’m not so sure that you haven’t been a little naughty.” And from his bag he drew a clear bag with a red ribbon securely tying the top. So the piece of coal wouldn’t fall out.
Bill’s eyes grew wide as he belly-laughed. Our laughs followed Santa closely in amazement. It must be someone we know! As we wondered who had put Santa up to this, he called, “Merry Christmas to All!” and his black boots carried him out the door.
After minutes of denial, Grandma Murphy’s blue eyes sparkled as she threw her head back and laughed until she shook.
…Before taking the receiver off of a phone on the shelf, handing it to a gullible 80-year-old woman in the middle of Walmart, and saying, “It’s for you!”… remember, that she might have connections for outstanding repercussions.
Some ten or more years later, the bag of coal still nestles on an inside branch of our Christmas tree. A reminder that Santa knows who’s naughty and nice – one way or another.
And, a reminder of a woman who had a spirited sense of humor.
Peace, Love and... Joy...