« Archives in December, 2013


The signal usually came as a rap on the wall that separated our row house from the one next to us. I suppose Mr. Joe could have just yelled (row house common walls hardly being soundproof), but a couple simple knuckle raps got the job done just fine.

“Joe’s ready,” my mom, clearing the supper dishes in the kitchen, would say to my dad, who was already putting his coat on and checking to make sure there was film in the camera.

“Yep, here we go again.” Dad said, heading for the door.

“Don’t forget to stop at Willie’s,” my mom called out, as the front door closed.

*  *  *

It was a Christmas Eve ritual. Mr. Joe, in full Santa Claus regalia, with my dad, his trusty wingman, ho-ho-ho-ing their way around the neighborhood to the delight, surprise, and occasional terror of its children.

Eyes wide, mouths open, the really little tykes would wonder at the sight of Santa coming through their door before hustling off to bed in hopes of remaining on his “nice list.” Meanwhile, the older kids got a kick out of playing along for the benefit of their younger siblings, and maybe because a part of them wanted to revisit, if only for a few moments, the magical fantasy that is the jolly fat man in the red suit. As for the parents, while they might put out cookies and milk later, they would offer Santa a considerably more adult beverage now to lighten the burden of his busiest night of the year, not to mention assuring that he would leave even merrier than he had arrived. »Read More