Waiting for Santa
by Diana Davis, Walrus Contributor
I grew up on a small farm in Northern Missouri where we lived on 120 acres of meadows and woods. When we turned into our graveled drive, we crossed a bridge over the creek, then drove up the hill to our house. I remember the Christmas when I was eight. Grandma Nugent arrived early, riding on the Wabash Railroad from St. Louis. She brought a two-pound tin of Mavrakos chocolates, and we four children had our pick of pieces. On Christmas Eve day, she and Mom were in the kitchen baking. The smells of apples, raisins, and cinnamon wafted through our house along with the pungent smell of pork sausage, onions and celery that Mom was browning to mix with our stuffing. They cast worried glances out the window.
Our farm was located at the bottom of the snow belt that dripped down from Iowa, sweeping weather from across the Kansas plains. A cold blowing snow was falling at the rate of two inches an hour, so it was decided that we would shuffle beds and make room for our other grandparents to stay overnight too. Dad took the Jeep to fetch Grandma and Grandpa Angelo, who lived 10 miles away, before the roads drifted closed. There were anxious moments until we heard the whine of the four-wheel-drive churning up the hill. We all ran out to help bring in their suitcase, presents, and homemade pies.
After dinner, we children got into our pajamas and gathered around the dining room table. Mom fixed hot chocolate and served cookies. As we ate, Grandpa Angelo read the Christmas story from the Bible. Then we went to bed and lay still so Santa would think we were asleep, and we soon were.
The next morning, we tiptoed into the living room to see if Santa had been there. There was a Christmas tree and presents on the floor. We ran to wake the boys. Soon we were all in the living room. Elaine and I had each received a dolly and, as a share toy, a wonderful tin doll-house. It came with a houseful of furniture and a family. The boys got balls, cars and a Monopoly game. We all got new mittens, hats and scarves. Then we ate Mom’s homemade cinnamon rolls.
Later, we played, then feasted on the traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. We topped that off with applesauce cake and pumpkin pie. When I think of that particular Christmas, it seems so special. Surrounded by our entire family, we had kept Christ in the celebrations. We had enjoyed a wonderful meal and had received terrific gifts. We had played Monopoly and dollhouse all afternoon. That evening, tucked into our warm house, while the winds whistled around the corners, three generations sat around the Christmas tree and told stories. We squinted our eyes to make the tree lights shoot multicolored beams as we tilted our heads and laughed.