Thursday, December 25, 2008

Letters to Santa

My Letters to Santa have evolved through the years. When I was a kid, I wanted to write Santa to say, “Please check the Sears and Roebuck Catalog and bring me one of every toy on pages 312 through 427.” My lists would have been massive, and required additional postage. I did worry about what would happen if I angered my jolly, rotund benefactor.

I could almost imagine my huge list pushing him off the deep end. “Not sure what happened officer;” Santa would confess. “When I saw the length of this list, I just snapped. I promptly hitched up Rudolph, went to Alabama, and threw little Ricky into a wood chipper.” I could imagine the arresting officer having one look at my list and saying, “Yep, good call Santa, he deserved to be shredded. It’s best we thin out the shallow end of the gene pool while we can. We’ll code this as justifiable chipping.”

Mom would shame me into keeping my list short. “Son, don’t wish for more than Santa can carry.” Embarrassed by my Christmas cravings, I always pared down my list and honed in on a few special things. One year I asked for a Daisy Pump BB gun, one year a red Huffy bicycle, and one year a new baseball glove. Santa was always more than kind to my family and me.

One thing I learned later in life is that “things” don’t really make you happy. They break, wear out, or simply lose their luster in time. What really brings a smile to my face nowadays are the memories I have collected through the years. They never lose their luster – in fact, they become more treasured as time goes by.

We all know that Christmas is a magical time and that most anything is possible.

If I were making a list this year, it would look something like this:

Dear Santa,

1. I want to spend one more day helping Pap (my grandpa who passed away in 1970) put horseshoes on a mining mule. After the job is finished, I want to sit with him in the shade of his old sycamore tree and drink a glass of Mama Watson’s sweet tea. I’d love to see him pull his can of Prince Albert tobacco from the pocket on the bibb of his overalls and hand-roll a perfect cigarette. His timeworn Zippo lighter was older than I was.

2. I want to take a fishing trip with my dad and two brothers. I want to pitch a tent on the banks of the Tennessee River, catch a mess of crappie and fry ‘em up in a campfire skillet. We always said we’d take that trip one day, but we never did.

3. Jilda’s mom and dad are gone now Santa, but I want to have Christmas dinner with her folks one more time. I want her dad Sharky to give one of his classic blessings, delivered with the eloquence of a country lawyer. I then want to dive into Ruby’s turkey and dressing and eat myself into a stupor. These are the things on my Christmas wish list.

My wife Jilda, our friend Tracy, and I wrote a Christmas song a few years back and the chorus describes what I would truly like for Christmas.

Everyone that I ever loved

Friends and family

Have come together to celebrate

The Christmas of my dreams.


  1. Anonymous3:17 PM

    If I were not choking from this lump in my throat I would say more.
    However, I will just say

    MERRY CHRISTMAS to you, Rick and Jilda.

    May the future treat you well.

  2. Thanks for your kind words buddy.


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