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— Do you remember when you found out about Santa Claus?

When I was 4 or 5 years old, I recited a poem at a Christmas Eve program at the church. The year was 1937 or 1938, doesn’t matter much because times were hard. The church was located at a dirt road crossroads 18 miles from Warren County seat of Indianola, Iowa, 12 miles from Osecola, Iowa. I knew my dad and uncles and grandpa had helped build it.

When the program was over and preacher gave last prayer, there was quite a lot of noise and disturbance at the entryway and in rushed Santa with a lot of Ho, Ho and booming laughter, red coat, stocking hat and false beard. He made his way down front to the table laden with paper socks. He was standing next to my seat and I looked down at his feet thinking “Santa has boots just like my Uncle Wilbur.

In fact, there is that big cut across the top, he had his foot tangled in the barb wire last summer when the mule pulled the wire taut.”

Then I remember that I thought the last year that Santa had sure sounded a lot like my Uncle Alvie.

This was alright - I liked the idea and now understood things clearer. I also knew the socks would have hard striped candy, about a cupful, and one big orange.

If I was 5 years old, I had had exactly four oranges in my lifetime and I was about to have number five.

Our tree was a limb off a pine tree, decorations were different things we’d made in country school and one year my gifts were a book, a lovely yard of ribbon and two pairs of long, brown stockings.

Fast forward 65 years and I have a 5-year-old grandson standing directly in front of me looking into my eyes and saying “Grandma, is there really a Santa Claus?” I’m flabbergasted and struck silent and he continues “Now, don’t lie about it, I reallyneed to know!”

Oh, dear, I’m pinned down and can only give the usual: ”It’s all in your heart and we each are Santa Claus in our own way,” etc. He didn’t seem to mind but only wanted to know a yes or no. I suspect he already knew but needed it confirmed.

The combined choirs of Pea Ridge and Brightwater Methodist Churches will present their Christmas program Sunday, Dec. 20, at Brightwater at 9:30 a.m. and at Pea Ridge at 11 a.m.

All are invited to one or both.

Also the Christmas Eve communion candlelight service will be at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 24, at Brightwater and later service at Pea Ridge.

Opinion, Pages 4 on 12/16/2009

Print Headline: ’Til Next Time Childhood memories about Santa Claus

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