Tuesday, December 18, 2007

so be good for goodness sake

Cecil was celebrating his 85th birthday when I was his wrangler, bodyguard. He grew his own beard; his wife's cooking provided the padding.

We navigated Father Christmas breakfast with bratty privileged kids, reciting their demands; breakfast with sick kids and kids asking for a Christmas tree.

His wet blue eyes would fix on me: What should he say to the boys and girls who knew not to ask for anything?

We passed the lulls in the Santa action, talking about his wife, his grandkids; my college courses, my roommates. The stories are lost on me now; the impression he left, his gentleness, stayed with me.

Other times, we'd gather up a basket of candy canes and walk around downtown, an ostensible effort to strum up business, support the mighty dollar. But Cecil didn't give a fig about such nonsense. No, he had an agenda. I would stand back while he chatted with street kids and gave them treats.

I wish I could snapped their pictures.

Cecil gave me a card on my 21st birthday; I still have it somewhere. He taped 21 pennies into a 21 inside, for good luck.

He grinned when I opened it, so excited for me to see what he had done.

And this many years later, I think about him at Christmas - when I am panicky and grouchy and hating this season. I slow down.

It's good knowing I've got a Santa, watching over me.
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lapoflux said...

That's really beautiful (sniff sniff).
I'll try and put my inner Grinch to rest.
Thank you

Kimberly said...

What sweet, sweet reflections.

Mrs. G. said...

He sounds like a Santa that should be with you ALL year long. Nice tribute, Lisa.

Anonymous said...

Wow. That is an amazing perspective. I'm glad you have Santa watching over you too.

flutter said...

what a lovely memory.

Melanie said...

My great-grandma used to tape coins in our birthday cards. What a great detail.

stephanie said...

Lovely story, you are lucky for that kind of interaction.

But...Are you saying you were an elf?

Just checking.