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.