In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Memory on the Menu.”
Which good memories are better — the recent and vivid ones, or those that time has covered in a sweet haze?
“Hey, you up?” there was a soft knocking on her door. On the other side was her four brothers in their jammies and robes. “Hey, Santa is here, are you up?” Betsy’s eyes had never closed that night. It was Christmas Eve and in just a few short hours, no minutes, no seconds….all the toys in the world would be there in the lower level of the family tri-level by the Christmas tree.
Together, the small posse of flannel clad siblings, the youngest being Betsy age 3, were standing in the hallway, gingerly stepping down to the living room level, trying not to creak the floors and be a silent as the night. The plan? To look around the corner, down into the family room and see Santa.
Glenn, the eldest, looked first. He turned around and pushed the next brother, Seth, to look around the corner. Each boy took his turn. It was all they could do to keep from shouting exaltations of joy at what they saw. Even Kyle, who was barely 5, had his turn at peeking into the room where the Christmas tree stood.
What was down there? she asked one of her brothers. “Santa, Santa’s down there and he is talking to mom and dad.” Her mind whirled, eyes widened, really? could this be? the scary man at the mall was bringing her toys? Not only that, he was talking to mom and dad right now? I bet he is asking if we’ve been good.
A mental picture formed in Betsy’s mind of a large round man in the red suit talking to mom and dad. Mom in her housecoat and dad in his robe.
Finally, it was Betsy’s turn. She was ready, her heart was beating hard.
“No you can’t look, you’ll be seen, you’re too small.” whispered Ross, the middle child. “No, I’ll be fast, real fast. He won’t see me.”
In the end, the four brothers decided that their little sister couldn’t possibly look fast enough not to be caught. And just as gingerly the walked down the stairs, the troupe walked back up and back to their bedrooms. Betsy didn’t sleep a wink, knowing that Santa was there, in the flesh. Santa does exist.
The visual picture of him remained with her through adulthood, as she spent time analyzing into agonizing details where life went askew. But, the unintended gift from her brothers, the image of Santa, the tree, her parents stayed with her even though they never really happened.
The soft focus memories of her calico flannel night gown, the smell of popcorn garlands on a white pine tree, the anticipation of the night when a Charlie Brown Christmas Story and the Grinch Who Stole Christmas were on TV are memories Betsy will never forget. She still says in all honesty, “I believe in Santa, don’t you?