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Monday, December 24, 2012

The day I stopped believing in Santa...or not.

It was in December 1978...I was just a pup back then, having turned 7 the previous summer. I had been wanting a ''Mustang'' bike for a couple of years, asked for it in every letter to Santa. You know the one with the high handlebars, the ''banana'' seat, and the revolutionary 2 speed shifter sitting on the top bar? But mom and dad always said that Santa thought I was too little to get one.

THE bike

 That year, when I wrote to him, I had a list of maybe 30 things I wanted, but I underlined the bike in red to show that it was the thing I wanted the most. I even cut out the picture of it from the Canadian Tire catalog, and glued the image to the letter. I showed my big brother, who was 15, the letter and he just laughed. He didn't say a word, just laughed.

I was hurt that my deepest conviction at the time was ridiculed that way, but I knew my brother was always looking for ways to get a rise outta me, so I went back to my room, and cried while I was sealing the envelope. I KNEW Santa existed. Forget my brother, he doesn't know what he's talking about.

 I had seen him a few years before at Uncle Jean's house....he came with a horse sled, because his reindeers were sick. He didn't fly, because only Rudolph can make that happen, but I knew it was him because he had my letter with him. He had explained to me that having a grown up bike was a BIG responsibility, and that he had seen the way I treated my trike, trying to jump curbs and what not. But he also said he was hurt to see me cry when my dad accidentally ran over it with his dump truck. So he got me the next best thing, a green machine.
Pretty sure I still have this in my mom's garage...that thing was AWESOME!
 I was so sad that dad had to go get something at the store and missed him. When dad came back, Santa was long gone.

So the next day, I had my letter ready, and gave it to mom so she can mail it. I was so excited about being big enough to get that bike I could barely wait 'till Christmas. I was gonna ride that thing until it fell to pieces. I was gonna ride it to school, ride it in snow because it had big tire thread, and I would park it in the driveway, next to the trucks, so maybe we could wash it when we cleaned the trucks. I was gonna work on it like dad works on his fleet, and maybe get a bit dirty while at it. Maybe dad will let me use his tools too!

I could already see myself with the fire truck red mean machine, impressing all the boys and girls with my ability to ride it on one wheel the length of the driveway, skidding to a stop, leaving a big black mark on the pavement. I was gonna be the absolute coolest kid on the block.

A week or so before Christmas, my dad took me to Canadian Tire, looking to get parts for our old Chrysler, and that's when I saw it. Sparkling with chrome, MY BIKE. I told dad to come and see it, see the bike Santa was SURE to get me this year, because I had been extra good. I even made my bed on occasion. I mean come on, he's GOT to have seen that!! Dad just said maybe he will, and that was it. I wanted that bike so bad.....

On the day before Christmas eve, I was snooping all over the house, as I always did. In the ''cookie cupboard'', the one over the fridge that I could only access by standing on the counter, I found a letter....MY LETTER TO SANTA!!! Mom didn't mail it, WTH?? How can she forget her son's letter to Santa?? Worst of all, she had OPENED IT!! I took it with me to my room, and hid it under my mattress. I was only gonna pull it out when I don't get gifts, to show mommy how bad she was to forget my letter.

On Christmas eve, I still went to bed early, but expecting nothing. I remember that I told mom maybe I wasn't good enough this year, and that maybe I didn't deserve anything for Christmas. Mom said that even bad kids get presents, they just didn't get what they wanted.

On Christmas morning, there were presents under the tree. A few bared my name, but none big enough to be a bike, to be MY bike. By then I was not surprised, but still felt like mom and dad failed me by not sending my letter. After dinner that night, we opened presents. NONE were on my list. My dad had something to fix in the garage, so he was gonna join us later.

The phone rang. Dad wanted me to go guide him out of the garage, because it was tight. So I put my snow suit on and headed outside. I heard the familiar rumble of the old Mack, the flatbed used to haul the steam roller around. Dad opened the garage door, and told me to watch for the bed because it was wide. He jumped in the truck, started to drive out, and then, on the bed, strapped upright......MY BIKE!!!!!  MY FREAKING BIKE!!!!!

I nearly went under the wheels trying to climb on the bed..... My dad came out, lifted me on the truck, and came on the bed with me. He helped me unstrap it, and take it down. He then looked at me and said: ''We know you found your letter to Santa. We opened it because we wanted to make sure you had what you wanted this year, because you are a good boy. You don't always listen, but we love you and we think you are a great kid.''

'' So Santa is not real dad??''
'' He is if you think he is''