As "The Season" progresses and Christmas nears, I watch the weeun's excitement. I watch their faces, their eyes. The coloured lights, the tinsel, the music and most of all the anticipation of a stealthy visit from their best pal, Santa. All this again brings reflection and I find myself often sitting and traveling in my mind to share these wonders. As I read the piece this morning about Santa's pending visit to The Village I looked inward and found myself in, oh, I dont know, around 1947 or 1948, Christmas time, just after the end of the war. Like a television show, I enjoy these brief trips and allow myself to study each as closely as possible for things in my memory that failed to register on my child's mind at the time.

Each day I would trudge home from school with my mates, frequently though the snow. Down the hill, across the bridge over the ice covered creek and back up the hill on the other side. Back then it was miles and miles to and from school. Actually, it may have been a mile but with those wee legs, well.. Didnt matter though. We were all bundled up against the cold and having a great time each day, each trip to or from, us guys. Upon arriving home I was always excited to open the front door because I would be met with the great smell of green fragrance - The Christmas Tree. Quickly closing the door to keep the cold out, I would doff my galoshes, peel out of my mackinaw and gloves and bask in the magic of our decorated tree. It was always great, with the coloured lights, and balls and ice sickles, and all those great packets beneath the branches. Those were the best part and I knew which ones were mine even though my first or second grade reading skills were just developing. A guys knows these things.My mum would greet me and take my things and I would generally go sit by the tree to smell it and look at my gifts in ever growing anticipation. Sitting there, I would wonder about Santa Claus. We had no chimney so how would he get in? He always made it but how did he do that? Had to be magic. I knew what I wanted him to bring me but would he? A guy has to worry and wonder about things like that you know.

My mum announces that we're going downtown and, after a snack and a cup of chocolate, I get my mackinaw and galoshes back on, she bundles up my baby brother and we take off. Its really cold outside and the snow drifts are just great. We drive to downtown Tulsa and she parks outside a department store with great windows and moving things inside. Walking to the front doors I listen to the music and my mum as she tells me she had just learned that Santa was making a surprise visit to this store and she wanted me to get to see him if we had a chance. Wow! How many times does a guy get to actually see and maybe even talk with Santa? Wow!

We stand in the queue of other mums and kids and over in the corner ... there he is! Its really Santa! He's holding hands with kids and talking about stuff. How in the world can he take time away from his job to do this? Finally we arrive at the front of the queue and there he is! He looks up and gestures to me. I'm kind of embarrassed, kind of shy. What was it I wanted to tell him? What in the world was it? He hold my hands and asks my name. Damn! Whats my name? Oh, I know. What do I want for Christmas? What was that? Oh, I remember. Its over far too soon. I look up and he is holding my baby brother on his lap and chuckling. Well, He's a busy guy after all. That over, we go over to this swell train thing. We get aboard and it chugs through this magic cavern with all the coloured lights and music and those characters that move around. Its fun but kind of a let down after actually having spoken with the real Santa.

Finally home again, I sit in the living room and go over every detail about my visit with Santa. Will he remember me when he comes by? I have that feeling in my stomach, rather a hollow feeling. Anticipation. Jees! It takes forever for Christmas to come. I remember last year. Laying in bed in the dark, trying to go to sleep because I had learned that Santa cant work his magic if there is anyone still awake in the house when he comes around. I've got to go to sleep but it just wouldnt come. Will I have the same trouble this year? Boy! As a guy gets older it just gets tougher. Looking into the tree I go over my all too brief visit with the Big Guy. Wait;ll I tell J.C. about this. Bet he didnt get to see Santa. As I sit there with the lights in my eyes and that great fragrance the whole world seems to be condensed into my living room and my tree and that funny feeling in my stomach of anticipation. Boy, Christmases can be tough for a guy and its always too long for the next one to come around.

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