Christmas Stories I: Santa’s Evil Twin
In the olden days, when the Goldie family was still new to America, and the Goldie children were young and easily amused, they had a Christmas tradition. Every year on one of the December weekends, Goldie loaded her kids into the car, and all three went to a nearby city to see the lights show.
We drove around the lights show, past the Nativity scene, stopped for a visit at Santa’s house, then got back in the car and drove around the area for a while, looking at people’s decorations. We stopped at Damon’s for dinner on our way back, then headed home.
It was a great tradition, and, like most great family traditions, it was doomed to die a natural death once the kids grew older.
Damon’s was the first to go. That was in the year when I12 was seven. During dinner, he excused himself to go to the bathroom, came back five minutes later, and, with a pale face, quietly said to us: “Let’s go home. I don’t want to eat here anymore.” He refused to talk about it for a year. Then, finally, he confessed that, while in the bathroom, he saw “a cut-off penis” floating in the toilet. (Oh, the searches this shall bring...)
A few more years later, he realized what it really was. But he still refuses to go to Damon’s. He’s probably right. Of course, I eat there all the time anyway – their ribs are out of this world, and I don’t care what they’ve got floating in their men’s room.
So, after that incident, we didn’t go out for dinners anymore, but we still visited the lights show. This went on for exactly one more year. I12 was eight, and K10 six years old, when the next disaster struck.
It was 6 PM on a Saturday night when we stopped in front of Santa’s house. I12 didn’t want to go inside. K10, on the other hand, was very excited about the visit. He walked in beaming from ear to ear, and greeted Santa with, “Hello Santa, my brother’s in the car, cause he doesn’t believe in you”.
Santa seemed grumpy, and ready to go home, but K10 didn’t notice. He got on Santa’s lap.
“And what do you want for Christmas, little boy?”
“I want…” K10 began, and stopped with a confused look on his face. Thing is, back then, I had a somewhat unorthodox approach to getting my kids’ Christmas gifts. I’d give them each a 25-dollar limit (that last year, I upped it to $50) and set them loose in a Walmart or Target or a Toys R Us. We had already been on our shopping trip, and K10 had chosen something enormous in a box, called “Cyborg City”. Being an honest little boy, he decided to tell Santa the truth.
“Actually, I already know what I’m getting. It’s Cyborg City.”
Santa frowned at K10 sitting on his lap.
“How do you know?”
K10 was visibly worried. Honesty didn’t seem to go over well with Santa. He decided to go for a little white lie this time.
“Er, I was in the basement… and, er, er, I saw the present. By accident.”
Santa launched into a lecture.
“You should never look at the presents. Never! Do you understand? Even if it’s in your way, and you trip on it, you should just step over it and keep on going. Never, ever, do that again… oh, wait a minute.
How did you see the present if it wasn’t wrapped?”
“It wasn’t”, K10 whispered.
“IT WASN’T?!?!?!” – and Santa started yelling at K10 at the top of his lungs. He went on and on. I had never seen anything like that before. It was so unreal that I couldn’t even get mad or upset. K10, on the other hand, sat on Santa’s lap, frozen with fear, and stared him into the face.
“Get out, get out!” – roared Santa. We happily accepted the invitation and ran out of the little house. He didn’t even give K10 a candy cane. What a freak.
K10 ranted all the way home.
“I’m never going to see that Santa again! I’m going to put that Santa out of business!!”
And so, we never went back.
But I told K10 to look at it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“Think about it”, I said. “How many people can say about themselves that they got yelled at by Santa? Everybody should envy you! Besides, it’s a great story to tell.”
So I’m telling it.
Merry Christmas! Ho ho ho!
Coming up next: K10 forever changes the way holiday services are conducted in our church.