On Santa's Team
grandma taught me everything about Christmas. I was just a kid. I remember
tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped
the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," jeered my sister. "Even
dummies know that!"
grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day
because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the
truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when
swallowed with one of her world-famous cinnamon buns.
was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything.
She was ready for me.
Santa Claus!" she snorted. "Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That
rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad. Now,
put on your coat, and let's go."
Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second cinnamon
turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a
little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma
handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days.
this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it.
I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of
was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never
had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded,
full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few
moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill,
wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody
I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people
who went to my church.
was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobbie Decker. He was
a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs.
Pollock's grade-two class. Bobbie Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that
because he never went out for recess during the winter. His mother always
wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough; but all we kids knew
that Bobbie Decker didn't have a cough, and he didn't have a coat.
fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobbie
Decker a coat. I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It
looked real warm, and he would like that. I didn't see a price tag, but ten
dollars ought to buy anything. I put the coat and my ten-dollar bill on the
counter and pushed them toward the lady behind it.
looked at the coat, the money, and me. "Is this a Christmas present for
someone?" she asked kindly. "Yes," I replied shyly. "It's
... for Bobbie. He's in my class, and he doesn't have a coat." The nice
lady smiled at me. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag and
wished me a Merry Christmas.
evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons, and
write, "To Bobbie, From Santa Claus" on it ... Grandma said that
Santa always insisted on secrecy.
she drove me over to Bobbie Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was
now and forever officially one of Santa's helpers. Grandma parked down the
street from Bobbie's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the
bushes by his front walk.
Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered,
took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his
step, pounded his doorbell twice and flew back to the safety of the bushes
and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front
door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobbie. He looked down, looked
around, picked up his present, took it inside and closed the door.
years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my
grandma, in Bobbie Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful
rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: Ridiculous!
Santa was alive and well ... AND WE WERE ON HIS TEAM!
Note: For several other wonderfully inspiring Christmas stories, click here.
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