Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Best Christmas Present Ever

I was in first grade. In early December, I came home from school in tears. My mother thought I had been in a fight on the school bus, or that someone had said something to hurt my feelings. Actually, it was far worse that either of those.

My first-grade teacher, whom I adored and had a secret crush on, had told our class of six-year-olds that there was no such thing as Santa Claus.

My mother was furious but couldn’t do much about it – there was no use in shutting the door after the horse had left the barn. But she was even more upset that her six-year-old continued to mourn the loss of Santa Claus.

A few weeks later, we drove to Shreveport to spend Christmas with my father’s family, which meant staying at my grandmother’s house. From my perspective, my grandmother was Christmas magic 365 days a year. I adored her and she adored me, and all was right with the world. Even with the loss of Santa.

As we neared Shreveport, my father asked me was there any way I might believe in Santa Claus again. By this time resigned and embittered, I said the most outrageous thing I could think of. “I’ll believe in Santa if I get a puppy for Christmas.” Everyone laughed. I wasn’t getting a puppy for Christmas.

On Christmas Day, we drove to my aunt and uncle’s house for the family get-together. Presents had been opened earlier that morning at my grandmother’s. As we sat in the living room, my uncle mentioned that Santa Claus had made a special stop at their house the night before.

The cynical six-year-old rolled his eyes. Right. Like I was going to fall for that again.

My uncle went to a back bedroom, and returning, guiding something with his foot. As he rounded the sofa in the living room, I could see what he had.

A puppy.

A beautiful puppy.

I didn’t have to ask. I knew who the puppy was for.

Struck dumb in wonder, all I managed to say was,”There really is a Santa Claus.”

He was a collie-German shepherd mix, He had the markings of a collie but the form of a shepherd. My father and uncle had found him at the city pound in Shreveport.

We named him Skipper.

My mother still has a photograph of me and Skipper in our backyard in New Orleans. I’m kneeling with my arms around my dog.

He was the best Christmas present ever.

To see more posts in Christmas and “Unwrapping Jesus,” please visit Bonnie Gray at Faith Barista.


Jay Cookingham said...

Loved this story...what a great memory!

Maureen said...

I'd like to see that picture of a boy and his dog!

Lovely shared memory.

togetherforgood said...

This made me cry. I love this so much. :)

Megan Willome said...

Classic tale (or is it tail?). I love that your parents went to such lengths to demonstrate the truth of Santa. They are better than I.

Pat Hatt said...

Great story, one way to get yourself a dog too huh? Use Santa for it..haha

Louise Gallagher said...

This is beautiful -- heart-warming and tearfully joyful.

H. Gillham said...

classic ---

totally classic ---


Sandra Heska King said...

Awwww. And what Maureen said. I want to see that picture.

Kristine said...

Such a lovely Christmas story.

Shaunie @ Up the Sunbeam said...

I just LOVE this story--you, wonderstruck by getting the puppy, and your family, wanting to restore your wonder at Christmas. Beautiful Glynn!!

Lisa notes... said...

This makes me smile, Glynn. :-) I remember losing my Santa virginity in the 3rd grade (probably a little old). I was so disappointed when someone told me Santa had died. I had to confirm with my mom, who told me who Santa really was.

S. Etole said...

A true Christmas story of faith restored.

Caroline said...

A lovely story. And there aren't many gifts (outside of the grace-filled gifts of faith) better than a dog!

nance marie said...

Ah! What a cool present!

Karen Kyle Ericson said...

That's so cool. What a great family you have Glynn! Thanks for sharing this story.

Jeri Taira said...

Awesome Christmas memory! A Christmas wish come true. Thank you for sharing it Glynn!

Have an amazing weekend.

caryjo said...

That teacher and I have too much in common. A few years ago one of my grandkids said she hadn't gotten anything from the tooth fairy, I said, basically, "Well, just as you know there isn't a Santa Claus, and there's no Easter Bunny, you wouldn't think there's a Tooth Fairy." She just turned pale, and I was nailed big time by her parents. SO, I try to avoid those situations so I don't accidentally give the "wrong" answers.