Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Argus Observes: Learning about Santa and the perfect sled

By Don Lynch
From The Argus Observer for Dec. 24, 1953

Parents playing Santa Claus must often be reminded of their own childhood experiences at Christmas time.

My own first memory in connection with Christmas if of my father explaining the Santa Claus legend, perhaps in response to a query from me, before I was old enough to go to school.

I have no recollection of being shocked or disappointed. Instead it was rather a sensation being let in on a delightful secret.

My sister, Ruth, heard all of the explanation and I remember my childish annoyance at her sometime later when she had forgotten all about it and insisted on the reality of Santa Claus.

Then I remember the intense excitement of Christmas Eve. I was always sure that I would never be able to go to sleep for I could not wait for morning to come.

As I grew older the most pleasant association with Christmas came in helping my mother wrap gifts and fix the tree after the younger children had gone to bed.

When I was old enough to go to work shining shoes, selling papers, and later carrying papers, I got more fun out of having my own money to spend for Christmas than any other benefit.

I remember as if it were yesterday shopping on Christmas Eve when the stores were open late, and finding a sturdy little table and chairs for my sister Louise, 10 years younger than I.

They had been marked down very low for late clearance and I got them at quite a bargain or I could not have bought them. She played with them a great deal and they lasted a long time.

One Christmas gift now in recollection stands out above all others of my childhood because it fitted the year to perfection.

It was a sled received in about the best winter for sledding that this country ever had. It must have been the winter of 1923-24, although It might have been a year later.

We lived in the Sunny Slope community south of Caldwell and the mail carrier brought it just two days before Christmas. It couldn’t then be kept a secret and mother explained to the other kids that it had been sent ahead because Santa lacked room to carry it.

What a wonderful combination of circumstances. It started to snow within 24 hours and got a good foot deep. Then it froze hard, about 30 below zero, forming a thick crust on topof the snow --- thick enough to walk on and thick enough to hold up the sled with myweight. The snow lasted for six weeks.

We lived at the foot of a hill and there were other hills in nearby fields. I got in more sledding during that Christmas vacation than most kids are lucky enough to experience in their entire childhood.

That was a thrilling experience for I don’t knowwhat a kid ever does that ismore fun than sledding down a hill at breakneck speed.

There’s nothing like Christmas for a youngster.

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