All right. Okay. I get it.
The year of our Lord 2016 has seen many highs and many lows. It has been one of those years where our patience for our fellow humans has been tested and pushed to the limits. Many folks, many of my own “peeps” (whatever that means) are angry for various reasons.
Even I, Donny Sunshine & Roses has had bouts of less than happy thinking. When I get in these fits of ickiness of thought, I oft think back to something that made me smile and, more times than not, that is enough to get me out of my funk. So, I went back to my notes of Christmases past, when the lads Shamus and Sean Rush were still only a handful of years old.
One of my Christmas presents to you who may be in a funk, are these remembrances of Shamus, Sean and Santa. So, just like in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, take my hand to journey back to holiday seasons long gone, but not forgotten.
Last weekend I took the lads to see Santa — for the second time. Shamus, 5, really wanted to see that right jolly ol’ elf a second time, to tell his Christmas wish-list. His first attempt didn’t go so well. On that first attempt, in Goodrich, Shamus hopped up on the big guy’s lap and froze.
“What would you like for Christmas, young man?” the bearded one asked.
Shamus put his right hand to his forehead, squeezed his eyes shut and pushed his lips together tight. Then shook his head, shrugged his shoulders in resignation and said, “I don’t know.”
“Well, just tell your parents and have them write it down and send it to me,” Santa improvised, as he pushed the silent Shamus off, and waved in the next kid in line.
Who decided he wasn’t sure about Santa, and thought it better to cover his ears and cower behind Poppy (me) as not to see Papa Noel.
Fast forward in time . . .
A few days after Santa left Goodrich he reined his reindeer to Oxford’s Centennial Park and Shamus was psyched! He was ready to tell Santa he wanted some Hot Wheels and an electric guitar. Sean, well, he didn’t want to be within 12 feet of anybody wearing a red suit and pointy hat. But, Shamus couldn’t wait to redeem himself.
After a little girl who was on Santa’s lap jumped off, Shamus, with a sense of urgency about him, all business-like, climbed up on that big, warm lap ready to take charge.
“Santa,” Shamus asked, “do you have a TV?”
“Yes,” Santa answered, “Now, what do you want for Christmas?”
Shamus’ smiling face turned into something, stiff, expressionless, blank — he sort’a resembled Al Gore for a moment. He put his right hand to his forehead, squeezed his eyes shut and pushed his lips together tight. Then shook his head, shrugged his shoulders.
What played through my mind was the scene from the movie “A Christmas Story.” The scene when little nine-year-old Ralphie Parker gets his shot to tell Santa he wanted a Red Rider BB gun with a compass in the stock. Ralphie, like Shamus (or vice-versa), froze.
In the movie Ralphie comes to his senses, tells Santa, to which Santa replies, “You’ll shoot your eye out kid.”
In Centennial Park, Santa waited patiently then told Shamus to have his parents write out his list and send it to the North Pole.
When asked if he wanted to see Santa, Sean turned his head and said, “No.”
Seven-year-old Shamus, our resident poindexter, has run all the numbers, consulted his textbooks, calculated with his slide rule and, mathematically speaking, I don’t know if he is still in Santa’s corner. While he hasn’t come out and said anything (just to be on the safe side), when he talks to younger bro Sean, he overdramatizes:
“Sean, you better be good.” Wink wink to the parental units. “Or Santa won’t leave you any presents.” Wink wink.
* * *
Shamus is in the holiday spirit, however. After dinner one recent winter’s night we ambled into the living room, to discover . . .
. . . an ottoman covered with little paper airplanes. In the middle of the planes was a small sign, that in Shamus Script read:
buy one get
two cents each
And, on the back of the wee little sign was:
leave money here
Yep, old Shamus is right in the spirit of things — the “let’s make a dime during the season” spirit. Think Christmas is overly commercialized? Nah. I didn’t think so, either.
* * *
Are you still with me, time traveler? It’s time to head home.
Shamus and Sean are much older and stinkier these days, and probably not nearly as fun. But, it was fun to remember their pink little faces and super blond hair when they were cute and cuddly. I don’t know about your, but I feel better. (And, if you still are kinda cranky remember, 2017 is less than a month away!)
Have a fun Christmas story to share, send ’em to me via e-mail, DontRushDon@gmail.com!