Twas’ the night before Christmas and the family was en-route to grandma’s house. As they motored through the intersection of a small sleepy town the ill mannered child in the back seat yelled into his father’s ear, “It’s him, it’s him, it’s Santa Claus.”
There sitting over on the curb was a forlorn looking fellow with a dirty white beard, a stocking cap that barely covered his balding head and a red tattered coat that was frayed white around the edges.
The parents glanced at the raggedy man with all his possessions sitting next to him in a plastic grocery bag. “You have to admit,” said the mother, “he does look like Santa with his scuffed up old boots and his matted beard.”
“Don’t be silly, he ‘s just a ho, ho hobo,” laughed the father. “The only thing that transient has in common with Santa is that he probably only works one day a year.”
But the cherubic child was throwing a tantrum in the back seat. “I want to stop and see Santa.”
“He looks more like Santa than those xerox copies in the department stores and those express lane Santas back home,” said the mother as the car stopped for a red light and the kid bolted out the door.
“Hi Santa,” said the kid, shocking the jolly old gent out of his quiet reverie. The old man was quick to catch on as the parents pulled over and ran to their child. The old man pulled the young boy up on one knee of his dirty old pants and before he knew it the child was listing the presents he expected the very next morning under Grandma’s Christmas tree.
“I want a cell phone, a bike, an X-Box and a laser gun.” The old man had never heard of many of the toys the boy rattled off. “My dumb sister wants an I-Pad, nose ring and a tattoo. Daddy wants a new table saw and mommy wants a new SUV. But you already know all that ’cause I sent you a letter. You got it didn’t you?”
The old man didn’t know what to say but just nodded his head. He hadn’t spoken to a child or held one in his lap for many years.
“I have to warn you,” said the boy to the smiling Santa, “Grandma doesn’t have a chimney so we’ll leave the front door open for you.”
The parents looked sick as they shared a vision of this bum walking through an open door and stealing all their presents. “Come on son, we have to be going now.”
“Maybe you better write this all down so you don’t forget it all,” said the son to Santa, ignoring his parents.
Before putting him down the old man reached into his sack for something to give the child but there was nothing in the sack but his dirty clothes and a half eaten candy bar. There was a tear in the old man’s eye as he reached to his neck and took off a gold chain with a golden cross attached. He had worn the crucifix for years. Better years. He gave that small boy the only possession he owned in all the world that was worth anything. “You keep this present son, do what your mom and dad tell you and whenever you need some help in this cruel world you just grab this cross and ask God for some guidance.”
The parents looked grateful and sad… and realized they had a lot of shopping to do before the next morning. They waved good-bye to the old
man who lived out of a sack and the little boy told his dad, “That was the best Santa ever.”
Years later the young boy had children of his own. At about the age of six or seven one by one his kids would ask, “Dad is there really a Santa Claus?” He would clasp the gold crucifix he wore close to his heart and reply, “Yes there is. I met him in person.” wwwLeePittsbooks.com