Christmas came and went. It really wasn’t so bad. My neighbor stopped by with a gift and I hadn’t wrapped her’s yet but she seemed pleased anyway. It was a quiet day. I made my little roast, then didn’t want to eat it. A baked potato blew up in the oven. Never had that happen before. I finally decided to trim the fat off and slice the beef thin and make sandwiches. That’s been the happiest part of Christmas dinner.
One of the movies that I forgot to include in my holiday movie list is The Polar Express.
I remember that I didn’t much like the movie the first time I saw it, but it kind of grew on me. I like the message of believing in Santa, believing in the magic. The Santa Clause asked the question, too, of when did you stop believing in Santa. Poignant stories of how the characters stopped believing.
When I first started thinking about it, I couldn’t remember ever really believing in Santa. Memory is a tricky thing. My family called Santa “Gagoose” pretty much all my life. The story is that when I was almost a year old (or maybe almost two years old) I toddled across the room and plopped a plastic blow up Santa into Aunt Jeannie-baby’s lap and exclaimed “Gagoose!” I can see this in my mind’s eye but it’s a family story, not a real memory. I know because I’m watching my little self instead of being the camera.
I remember at four and a half, when our family was camping in Colorado, we visited Santa’s summer residence. Santa told me that he preferred popcorn and root beer over cookies and milk. From there on out, that’s what we left for Santa. I certainly believed then.
When my parents were moving, we found a letter I wrote to Santa maybe around age 6. I told Santa that if his reindeer were tired, he could borrow our buick stationwagon. Sounds like I still believed then.
I don’t remember any big existential crisis about Santa. I vaguely remember some conversations about Santa being more a spirit of Christmas than an actual person. Sort of. I think I just drifted gradually into understanding.
I’d like to believe in Santa now. I’d love the magic to be real.
These days, there are still people making the magic real for others. I think my favorite this year was the woman who paid off a whole store’s layway. There are smaller, no less special magics made by modern day Santas. I’d like to be the person that does that. Okay, not $20,000 of layaway payoffs, but some kind of magic to make someone else happy. And it doesn’t have to be Christmas, does it?
I don’t have a lot of money and I have challenges in my life, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have something to give. I’m just not sure what it is yet.
By the way, I set up a Memorial Page with the Alzheimer’s Association for Mom. You can sign the guest book or make a donation in memory of my mother if you want.
How am I doing? Okay, I guess. I’m still kind of numb. I was explaining to a friend how I’m feeling and it’s sort of like I was reading a long and complicated book and then the author tried to wrap it up in a small paragraph on the last page. It feels unfinished. The end was so fast after such a long journey. I’m left feeling like there should be more.