A Christmas Miracle

Chet missed his dad. Carol, Chet’s dad, had passed away in the night. He had just been to the doctor for a complete physical and had come through with flying colors. He was a bricklayer. His skin turned almost black in the summer from the intense sun that he absorbed as he labored outside under its intense rays. Carol had purchased Chet the Lost In Space Robot suit for Halloween. Each time that Chet would portray the Robot…Carol would laugh so hard that his sides ached. Thelma, Chet’s mom, worshipped Carol. Whatever he said…was what she believed. When Billy B. came over to play with Chet’s Western Action Figures such as…Johnny West and Chief Cherokee as well as Daniel Boone and Stony the World War II Soldier…they would often speak of having been to town to ‘Do the Trading.’ Billy B. finally learned that ‘Doing the Trading,’ was shopping in Eldorado. So, Carol had passed away a week before Christmas.

Billy B. had grand plans for Christmas 1963! He wanted a Daniel Boone Action Figure…like Chet…and who would not allow him to play with on most occasions. He wanted to meet Santa Claus…personally. Billy B. wanted his mom, Neva Jane, to be happy as she had been so unhappy since she and his dad had divorced. Often he would find his mother crying when he got home from school. She felt that the responsibility for the separation and divorce of her and Jefferson…was her fault… Billy B. knew better and wanted desperately to convince his mom that they must move on and rebuild their lives and enjoy each day. A group of the third graders was going to meet in the woods and decorate a pine tree with Christmas lights. This had been discussed since Halloween. Jane would join them as well as Sally and Daryl and as customary…Daryl’s father…the Third Grade Teacher…who liked to be called The Wiz…

Jane was especially looking forward to the evening decoration of the Christmas Pine Tree. She had told Billy B. that she had been sad since Halloween. Jane mentioned that the joys of October did not seem to be staying with her in December. She said that although there was a six-foot Aluminum Christmas Tree in their living room at her home…she felt empty and disengaged from the joys of the Holiday Season. She said that although her family dutifully gathered for Christmas…they did not seem happy or energized by the family time together. Her uncle Ebenezer and her dad were on different sides of the political spectrum and agreed on little in politics…and mostly argued their political points until late in the evening. Uncle Jack Daniels did not seem to help. Her sister cried a lot about her lost boyfriend, Jacob, and her friends seemed consumed with ephemera.

Santa Claus…real or not? Billy B. always believed that Santa was real…Chet did as well. Some members of their class…had their doubts. Buddy had told them that his aunts, Wanda and Vema, had said with a laugh and a wink that there was no Santa and that there was no Easter Bunny…either. Jane said that her dad, which she loved completely, told her that she should believe in Santa…as long as she wanted to. Daryl said that his dad had told him that he had met Santa and that Santa Claus was his personal friend…and that he would bring him to the decorating of the Pine Christmas Tree…tonight.

So, the time had arrived to participate in the annual decorating of the trees in the woods. This tradition had been ageless…as far as anyone could remember. There seemed to be no beginning to the annual Christmas Pine Tree Decoration. Chet arrived pulling a Little Red Wagon that was full of Christmas Decorations. He had brought his deceased father’s work lights that he had used when he had to lay bricks after dark…and it got dark very early…a week before Christmas. Along came Jane and her beloved father accompanying her…as he was concerned about her being sad…for so long. Billy B. brought the silver dollars that his dad had given him just before he drove off in his Vintage Cadillac…and he never saw him again. His dad had pulled them off of the trunk of the automobile and handed them to Billy B….as a form of a permanent goodbye. The Wiz announced that he had invited a special guest…and out from behind a humongous pine tree stepped Santa Claus.

Santa winked his eye and stepped forward with a confident gate. He seemed neither in a hurry nor reluctant…but rather a man on a mission. Santa beckoned Jane forward. He told her that she was beloved by Santa and her father and mother…and to be sad… no more….because great things were in store for her. He then motioned for Chet to step forward. ‘Chet,’ he said, ‘Would you like to see your dad again?’ Chet answered, ‘There is nothing that I want more!’ Carol came out from behind a pine tree and grinned and hugged his son. ‘Billy B….do you miss your father?’ Santa inquired? ‘I miss him all the day long,’ said Billy B. ‘Well…he has come to spend Christmas with you,’ said Santa.

That night in the woods in Eldorado…was magical. Santa told the children that he only had special powers during the Christmas Season and that things would return to their natural normal…on January the 1st. He noted that the natural normal…was what they chose it to be…and that the future was up to them…

Chet and Billy B. met at the door of the Third Grade classroom at Hillcrest School in December of 1963. Chet asked Billy B. if he recalled what had happened at the Christmas Pine Tree Decoration…last night? Billy B.said that his dad was staying with him and his mom…through the holidays…and that his father had told him how much that he missed him. Chet mentioned that he must have had a nightmare that his father, Carol, had passed away…as he had breakfast with him…this morning. Jane walked up with a massive smile on her pretty face. She said that she had not been so happy in a long time. She went on to say that her mom and dad were so happy…that it had made her happy…

Santa Claus awoke from a deep North Pole Slumber…the kind that he enjoyed just before…Christmas…

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