As I have stated before, I am a true believer in the big man in red. I learned my lesson early. When I was five or six, thinking logically, I started calculating the number of hours in a night, the number of houses in the world, and the amount of time it would take someone to jump out a sleigh and come down every chimney. Funny, I believed that there was a chance the reindeer flew, he had an accurate list, and he lived forever. The idea of elves was questionable. Anyway, putting the package together, as Mr. Spock would say, "This is totally illogical". When I posed my theory to my father, in his wise way, he took it in stride, and said,"Well, you have thought this through and you have some good points." His answer really bothered me. I expected some argument.
As Christmas got closer, I tried to co-op my younger brother into my theory. He wasn't buying it though. He was holding out for that large yellow Tonka Dump Truck to go with the Tonka Road Scraper he got for his birthday. He had the page marked in the Sears & Roebuck Wish Book. (Remember that wonderful red catalog that would come in the mail a month or so before Christmas? My brother and I would fight over possession of it for weeks. Each of us clearly marking the items we wanted from the incredible selection of toys in the back of the book. But I digress.)
Every year, Santa would make one short visit to our small town and hold forth at the local Sears store located on the town square. That particular year, my father suggested I go with him to take my brother. As we walked up to the store, there was a crowd of excited children with their parents expectantly waiting to see the big man. (I still had my doubts. After all, how did he have time to visit every town.) My father led us through the crowd.
As we walked through the door, a loud voice boomed from the back of the store. And, what followed changed my life forever. Santa called my name - loudly. The line waiting to see him parted and I could see him sitting there in his big chair. "Someone told me you no longer believe in me," he said in a questioning voice. "Come hear. Let's talk." Somehow I made it down the aisle. As I approached him, he looked down at me and smiled. "Oh, I believe," I quickly said. "I thought you did. Now let's discuss that Chatty Cathy on page 105 of the Wish Book. I think that was on your list." If I ever had a doubt, that night I drank the Koolaide.
As Dad took us home, I just couldn't stop talking about how nice Santa was and how hard his job must be. Dad just smiled. "Santa" was the local radio announcer, Mr. Kirby, a good friend of my father's. Needless to say, Mr. Kirby had some inside information and was prepared for me. When I was older and learned the truth about my "Miracle on Russell Street" I was in awe of what a father would do to make sure his little girl did not lose the magic of Christmas.