Yup. I know that.
But the most extraordinary thing happened today, in February of 2021. It needs to be shouted from the rooftops!
After all these years (there are a lot in there), the identity of Santa Claus has been revealed.
Here is the story.
Christmas morning always came with a big surprise. Were not allowed to get out of bed on that day until Santa came to visit. If you woke up early, you had to stay there. No peeking.
And then Santa would appear. Red suit, white beard and hair that covered the entire face except for the eyes. He would come to your room with a “Ho, Ho, Ho”, ask if you had been good (well, of course!) and give you a present. It was an exciting moment.
And it happened every year until I was old enough to know that Santa was a myth. A nice myth, but a myth. And I wanted to know who played Santa. I really wanted to know.
Our parents and grandparents never revealed who played Santa. Even as an adult when I asked who played Santa, they would say “Santa was Santa”! It drove me nuts. Who was that guy? It was the same guy every year. And no one snitched.
Last year I asked my brother, again, if he knew. He said he didn’t.
Now my brother has been known to prevaricate when it comes to answering my questions. Like when, at the age of 6 or so, I asked where the pitcher’s mound was in our backyard. My brothers were always talking about it. I couldn’t find it. They said it was right where the cherry tree was. I searched for that cherry tree for years. Until I was old enough to know that they were making fun of me.
So, some decades later, I am skeptical of brother’s answer to my query on the identity of Santa.
But his answer is irrelevant now. Because I know.
You see, our mother grew up in a very small town (next to our small town). Her parents had friends there. My mother had friends there. I grew up with those friends and had the wonderful joy of having friends who were the children of all those friends. (Are you lost yet?)
Let’s put it this way…the Morton’s, the Baird’s and the Turney’s (my relatives) had all grown up together. They helped each other through the depression, births, deaths and everything in between. In a small town, sharing your life and caring for those around you was second nature.
So I should have known, I should have suspected that the man I knew as my grandmother’s friend would be willing to create a wonderful Christmas morning for her grandchildren. After all she and Mrs. Claus made the red suit.
And who finally let the cat out of the bag? Santa’s grandson, Doug. What an extraordinary gift you gave me today.
So, I send a heartfelt Thank You to Lute Morton. I know that the angels just love you and your red suit. I will continue to carry you in my heart. But now, I carry you with an additional, loving memory.