Billy Bump was excited! It was Friday after Thanksgiving and it was time to do all things Christmas! Billy and his mom had just moved to West Street in El Dorado.
Times had been somewhat hard, financially, for Jane and Billy. They were renting from Jane’s sister, Gertrude, and she was a good landlord! Gertrude would often stop by with soda pop and some garden vegetables. Billy enjoyed the pop and tolerated the veg!
However, Christmas was coming and all routine worries and cares melted away in the face of a visit from Santa Claus! Now, Billy was a fan of Santa since his days in Chicago. His mom and dad, before they moved and divorced, had given him a Laughing Santa for one of his first Christmases! Billy loved Laughing Santa and when he came out of Christmas storage…everything was right again!
Laughing Santa had was about a foot tall and he had the most mischievous grin on his plastic face. He was dressed in red accept for a white fur piece adorning the front of his outfit. On his back was a crank with a red handle whereupon when Billy cranked it…Santa laughed uproariously! Laughing Santa was Christmas, to Billy, more than the aluminum Christmas tree that Jane pulled out of it’s Montgomery Ward box at the beginning of each season and Billy aided in placing the metal, glistening, tree limbs in the holes that were in the ‘Festivus” pole!
Now the majestic aluminum, ‘Festivus’ tree was accompanied by a blue and red light that was plugged in and was pointed at the Tanenbaum! So, the tree was either blue or red depending on which area of the colored plastic lens that was being illuminated by the light bulb.
A few months ago Billy and Jane had traveled to the Beulah division of El Dorado to visit Jane’s mother, Gayle and her sisters, Winona and Gertrude and Venus. While they were there the subject of Christmas and Santa Claus had arisen. Venus asked Billy, ‘you don’t still believe in Santa Claus…do you’ with an incredulous air of superiority!
Jane spoke up in and anxious and angry voice and said, ‘of course he does and don’t you say anything to dissuade him of his belief!’
Winona laughed and said, ‘why I told Harry and Linda that there was no Santa when they were much younger than Billy!’
Gertrude added, ‘let him believe in Santa a little longer…what is it going to hurt anyway?’
Soon the realization came to Billy that he had been scammed…hoodwinked…hornswoggled! And he was disillusioned! Billy announced to the ‘witches coven,’ ‘that perhaps Santa was not real but he knew that the Easter Bunny was!’
Then they all laughed and Jane told Billy to get his coat because they were leaving!
It was a week until Christmas and Jane had told Billy to see if Carl could come over tomorrow evening because there was going to be a huge Christmas surprise! Billy, subsequently, asked Carl if he could come and Carl’s dad drove him over the following day.
Billy was telling Carl what had happened to him at his grandma’s house when he and Jane were visiting. He mentioned that his evil aunts had told him that Santa was not real. Carl replied that he had a list of gifts that he had spoken to Santa about, at the Sears and Roebuck store…and he was certain that he not only was real but that he expected the gifts!
Suddenly…there was a loud knock at the door of the little red house on sixth street!
On the porch was Santa Claus smoking a meerschaum pipe. There was a wreath of smoke encircling his head. And, if you will forgive my borrowing from W. Clement Moore, ‘had had a little round belly that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly!’
Carl had the most enraptured grin on his face and Billy laughed with delight. Santa was there, in his home…to see him personally…and his aluminum tree with the ‘Festivus Pole’ in the middle!
Santa inquired as to what they wanted for Christmas and told them that they had been good little boys and that Jane had been a good girl! Billy notice his mom’s gleeful laughter and the delighted look that she had!
Santa went on to say that he had heard that people were trying to convince Billy the he was not real…and he assured them that he was not only real but that he had travelled from the North Pole just to see them and prove his validity!
Before Billy and Carl and Jane knew what was happening…Santa was gone…and none of them saw him leave or get up from the couch! All that was left was the wreath of pipe smoke and Laughing Santa…who was laughing uproariously!
Note: Photos are courtesy of Google.