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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

CHRISTMAS STORY #9: VISITING SANTA

"All I want for Chrithmath
ith my two front teeth,
my two front teeth,
jutht my two front teeth.
If I only had my two front teeth,
Then I could with you Merry Chrithmath...."

As I watch children at the mall sitting on Santa’s knee, it reminds me of a Christmas when I was 9 years old.

Every year the T. Eatons Company in Toronto would launch the holiday season with an extravagant Christmas parade. Grandpa suggested we take the train to Toronto for the event. I loved parades, train rides, and more than anything else Christmas and Santa Claus. But the morning of our trip I woke feeling nauseous and feverish. I didn’t tell Mom or she would have cancelled the plans and spoiled it for everyone. By the time we reached Toronto I had all the symptoms of full-fledged stomach flu.

I don’t remember much about standing bundled up on the snowy street watching the parade go by; the colourful floats with mechanical toys and story-book characters, the glittering fairies, comical elves, snowmen, reindeer and clowns throwing candies to the children or the big sled carrying Santa himself greeting the crowds with his familiar “Ho! Ho! Ho!”

After the parade came we went to the big Eaton’s department store, through the impressive Toy Land to where Santa sat on his throne waiting to greet the children.
I was wearing my moss-green coat with the velvet collar that Mom had made me, and the red hat with white tassels she had knitted for the festive occasion. I felt wretched, green-around-the-gills. I clutched the candy cane Santa gave me and posed for the camera to have my photo taken with Santa. It was impossible to smile. I could feel the bile rise in my throat, my cheeks burned with fever. What if I threw up on Santa? Would he scratch my name off the ‘good kids’ list and put me down with the naughty ones?

“What would you like Santa to bring you for Christmas, little girl?” he asked in a jolly voice.
The big moment had arrived for me to put in my Christmas toy order but I was too sick to reply. I just wanted to go home and crawl into my warm bed. My greatly anticipated visit to Santa ended with me feeling utterly miserable. I only hope Santa didn’t catch my flu germs!

"Jolly old Saint Nicholas
Lean your ear this way!
Don't you tell a single soul
What I'm going to say.
Christmas Eve is coming soon,
Now you dear old man,
Whisper what you'll bring to me
Tell me if you can..."

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