Santa Claus:A Truthful Tale

Storytellers embellish, change the order of truth, change truth, and, in fact, sometimes, they lie. If they are good storytellers, they do this in order to expose a larger, more universal truth. But, whether my natural inclination as a storyteller serves a greater purpose or not, the fact is I struggle constantly against the tendency to fabricate reality in inappropriate places for no discernible reason. I was a liar. Now I am a recovering liar.

I made the changes before I was married. I was determined to squelch this unholy leaning. I would always tell the truth. I could refrain from telling the truth only if it was hurtful. I could not slant the truth even slightly.

For a lover of Christmas though, there was a major problem when I had children. Santa. I know he is a fabrication but I believe in him. This may have to do with the fact that every Christmas morning for 47 years my stocking has been delightful packed. However, no matter how much I adored him. I knew he wasn’t real.

I stuffed my children’s stockings. I read Santa books. We watched Santa videos but, when asked, I stated unequivocally that he did not exist. I explained that his is a beautiful story that symbolizes the many gifts we are blessed with in this world.

My children seemed unsatisfied with that answer (as I was.) But we muddled on until one was 5 and the other was almost 3. We had been away from home one wet December day and had just crossed the county line back into Humboldt when we saw a cheery, cherry red Volkswagen bug ahead on the road. We giggled and imagined it was the sort of car Santa would drive if he were real. We began passing it (yes, Mom, I know, I drive too fast) when I heard an awed gasp from my littlest. I turned and saw both kids staring at the little old driver.

I blinked. Wearing a bright red sweatshirt but no hat, the rosy cheeked fellow chuckled and waved. Involuntarily, my foot lightened on the gas pedal until I drove alongside with both kids waving and yelling. The fringe of white hair curled on his forehead and the white beard on his chin wreathed a face so familiar and friendly I knew in a moment it must be…

“Santa Claus!” My oldest yelled. He turned and, with an expression soon to become horrifyingly familiar, added triumphantly, “See, I told you there was a Santa Claus!”

Life: Its stories trump mine.

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14 comments

  • A lovely story, Kym – but I particularly enjoyed your first paragraph which captured for me one of the dilemmas of writing but also of being. Someone in Blog Land once asked me why I never appeared as the hero but more the anti-hero of my own stories; the reason is that I resist that temptation to recreate my life in a false light. I also like to blur fact and fiction to get to truth, another facet of writing to which you allude.

  • A lovely story, Kym – but I particularly enjoyed your first paragraph which captured for me one of the dilemmas of writing but also of being. Someone in Blog Land once asked me why I never appeared as the hero but more the anti-hero of my own stories; the reason is that I resist that temptation to recreate my life in a false light. I also like to blur fact and fiction to get to truth, another facet of writing to which you allude.

  • Totally off subject here: Back when I was single, I drove like a BOOH up the 101 by myself quite often. Once on a particularly sunny morning/afternoon along the Mendo portion of the drive, I swear I thought I saw the Ghost of Jerry Garcia hitchhiking northbound. I had the immediate urge to stop & pick him up & take him to G-ville (where I was positive he was headed). But then I heard the Ghost of Gramps whisper in my ear, “don’t stop at the rest stop just outside of Twin Falls, and NEVER pick up hitchhikers!” Gramps beat out Jerry. But that and other experiences have given me a feeling that not only is our neck of the woods appropriately called The Lost Coast, but could also have a hint of some sort of enchantment.

  • Totally off subject here: Back when I was single, I drove like a BOOH up the 101 by myself quite often. Once on a particularly sunny morning/afternoon along the Mendo portion of the drive, I swear I thought I saw the Ghost of Jerry Garcia hitchhiking northbound. I had the immediate urge to stop & pick him up & take him to G-ville (where I was positive he was headed). But then I heard the Ghost of Gramps whisper in my ear, “don’t stop at the rest stop just outside of Twin Falls, and NEVER pick up hitchhikers!” Gramps beat out Jerry. But that and other experiences have given me a feeling that not only is our neck of the woods appropriately called The Lost Coast, but could also have a hint of some sort of enchantment.

  • Oscarandre, thanks for the nice words. I’ve been entranced by stories on your blog especially
    http://oscarandre.wordpress.com/2007/06/30/how-to-bury-your-mother/

    Heather, I got a deliciously creepy feeling when I read your comment. That deserves a full fledged story!

  • Oscarandre, thanks for the nice words. I’ve been entranced by stories on your blog especially
    http://oscarandre.wordpress.com/2007/06/30/how-to-bury-your-mother/

    Heather, I got a deliciously creepy feeling when I read your comment. That deserves a full fledged story!

  • Ah, your first paragraph explains the story about Grandma and the pumpkin pies. :0)

    And of course, there IS a Santa Claus! Why, I see him in person every year at the Mall!

    Heather, dare I ask what a BOOH is? I have an idea…but how about a POOH instead? 🙂

  • Ah, your first paragraph explains the story about Grandma and the pumpkin pies. :0)

    And of course, there IS a Santa Claus! Why, I see him in person every year at the Mall!

    Heather, dare I ask what a BOOH is? I have an idea…but how about a POOH instead? 🙂

  • A Pirate O.O.H.? A Pig O.O.H.? A Peacock O.O.H.? None of those go as fast as I used to. I’m better now that I have a child to consider.

  • A Pirate O.O.H.? A Pig O.O.H.? A Peacock O.O.H.? None of those go as fast as I used to. I’m better now that I have a child to consider.

  • The mall Santa tried to entice Malachi to have his picture taken with a candy cane. Malachi took the candy but refused the photo firmly several times. When asked why, he shyly shook his head. So after we were out of earshot, I asked Malachi why again.

    He looked at me very earnestly, sighed, and said, “That isn’t the real Santa, Mom.”

    Oh.

  • The mall Santa tried to entice Malachi to have his picture taken with a candy cane. Malachi took the candy but refused the photo firmly several times. When asked why, he shyly shook his head. So after we were out of earshot, I asked Malachi why again.

    He looked at me very earnestly, sighed, and said, “That isn’t the real Santa, Mom.”

    Oh.

  • Heather, of course it is a Winnie the POOH! and I should hope that you have slowed down! I don’t even want to think about it.

    Poor Malachi…if he waits for the real one, then I guess you are going to have to track him down in his red VW tooling down 101!

  • Heather, of course it is a Winnie the POOH! and I should hope that you have slowed down! I don’t even want to think about it.

    Poor Malachi…if he waits for the real one, then I guess you are going to have to track him down in his red VW tooling down 101!

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