Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Santa Claus

About a month ago, Tim, the guy who dug out our basement came by at about 8pm. As the boys and dog attacked him he brushed past everyone and said to me, “I gotta talk to you.”

As Tim headed downstairs, I noticed he was carrying a large garbage bag. I thought, “Is he going to bury a body in our basement? If so, fine. He’s giving us a heck of a deal on concrete.”

We reached the bottom of our stairs and Tim said, “Take a look in here.” Fully expecting a sack full of human heads, I peered in. Inside was a full Santa Claus outfit. Red coat. Boots. Beard. Even wire rimmed glasses. I’ll admit I was a tiny bit disappointed.

“I was doing a Montgomery Wards demolition a few years ago and this came out of a wall!”

I then learned it was Tim’s Christmas Eve tradition to walk from house to house, delivering presents and he wanted to add us to his route.

“It’s going to blow their minds!”

On Christmas Eve, Steve’s family came over with our pal Kitty and her new daughter for some wine and appetizers. I felt it was my job to hype Tim’s arrival to the kids.

“Guys! Patrick just called and said he saw Santa Claus in Skokie! And he’s coming our way!”

The kids immediately positioned themselves at our window to look for the man in red. According to Tim, he’d be at our house at 6:30pm.

6:30 came and went and I started to get worried. Our phone rang and it was Tim. He and his construction buddies were enjoying a little holiday cheer and he was running late. I began to picture Dan Aykroyd’s character from the movie “Trading Places,” who stumbled around drunkenly in a filthy Santa suit and at one point stuffed a salmon into his pants.

I stared down at Kitty’s salmon platter and wondered if we were about to ruin Santa for Elijah and Luca.

Tim called again and said he was on his way. I told the kids to resume their positions at the front window.

And then it happened. Santa came dancing up Ashland Avenue. The real Santa. If decades of cynicism wasn’t coursing through my veins I would have sworn he had arrived with eight tiny reindeer.

Kids cheered. Parents cheered. We pounded on our window as we watched him stand on our porch and dramatically reach into his bag for gifts for not only Elijah and Luca, but Rory and Finn as well. He extracted a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates for Diana, who had been particularly good this year.

He tipped his hat and waved to us before bounding back down the steps and heading back to into the night.

The kids began to pick apart the logic of Santa arriving at 7:45pm and not while they were asleep and why did he sign the packages “Snata” and didn’t they specifically ask for a Star Wars thing and not a bean bag game.

But for me, it was the real deal.

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