Home Town Tales


December 15th, 2014



We were out of school for Thanksgiving, and before I could have leftover turkey dressing, Mom said I had to write Santa. Why write this early? I told her Santa was magical. He had gazillion elves, and didn’t need much time. She said, “If you get your wishes to Santa early, you have a better chance of getting your wish.”

Chance! Santa wasn’t about chance. It was about being good. I know how the song goes. He knows if you’ve been bad or good. Any kid knows that song. I got nowhere with Mom. I had to write the letter, now.

I wished for a horse like Roy Rogers’ Trigger, a saddle and a western outfit, with chaps. I saw myself ridding Trigger through the pasture chasing cattle. When we weren’t doing ranch work, I’d ride to Grandma’s house. Tying him up at the porch rail, Grandma would hear my spurs rattle and tell me to take off my boots. She’d give me a hot biscuit, grape jelly and an apple for Trigger.

Mom frowned when I gave her the letter. She wasn’t happy, or I’d done something wrong. Maybe she knew about me eating the fudge icing off her chocolate cake. Mom told me, “That’s a lot. A horse, in Santa’s sled?”

He wouldn’t put it in his sled; he’d hitch him up with the reindeer. Mom told me, “Santa has flying reindeer, not horses.”

I told Mom she needed to believe. Santa can make anything happen.

Waiting for Christmas morning was torture. I dreamed of my horse every night. I drew pictures and put them on the frig. I went to the barn to check his stall. I was showing that I could be responsible and do the things necessary for a horse.

Finally, Christmas Eve, I made Dad put a bale of hay outside my bedroom window so Trigger wouldn’t get hunger before I got up. Dad complained. “This is a lot to carry,” but he did it. I dreamed of Trigger pulling Santa’s sleigh, up front, taking Rudolph’s spot.

Christmas morning I looked out my window and on the bale of hay was a western outfit with chaps and a gun belt, but there was no Trigger. I ran into my parent’s bedroom yelling. “Dad, Trigger’s gotten loose. Get the truck. We’ve got to find her.”

Dad knew there was no Trigger, but he drove me anyway. He told me Santa needed Trigger that year to finish deliveries. I didn’t believe it. Maybe I wasn’t good enough, or Santa couldn’t bring it that year.

Older and with enough money, I built a barn. I had a golden Trigger Palomino and three other horses. No kid should have to wait that long for their dream, so I’ve invented the naughty meter. It solves any confusion a kid might have about naughty or nice. It looks like a ring, small, and easy for a kid to carry around next to his pocketknife. Girls can put it in their purse, or wear it around their neck like a charm. You should never tell parents the color it flashes; though it might be a good idea to let your parents use it every now and then.

Each night, at bedtime, say your prayers, and then put your finger in the ring. If it flashes green you’ve been good. Say an extra prayer and have pleasant dreams. If it flashes yellow you’re in danger of being naughty. Think about what you’ve done or said. Apologize to Santa and your parents. Say I won’t do it again ten times. If it flashes red you’re in trouble. You’ve been naughty. You probably know what it is. Say I won’t do it again twenty times. Ask Santa for forgiveness. If you’re sincere, the next night it will flash yellow, if not, it will stay red. Be careful. You only have three chances to make it right. If you are truly sorry, it will eventually turn green.

I’m sure this invention will eliminate needless frustration and sleepless nights for kids. It will make parents happy they have well behaved kids. It will stop this nonsense of not believing in Santa Clause. Oh, and one more thing, I almost forgot. The device flashes in all three colors if your Christmas wish is something Santa cannot fill, regardless of how good you are. With this secure knowledge, may sugarplum fairies dance in your head tonight.