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Thaxton Christmas
by Wayne L. Carter

    There is a tendency on the part of children to believe in fantasy and myth, to accept the improbable as probable, and to dream the impossible dream. For most individuals, the ability to "believe" and to dream is stripped from them by the time they experience puberty. If adults could recapture the spirit once embedded in their childhood, think of the possibilities. If we could regain our childlike faith, we would attempt all that we now consider impossible. It is only as a child is exposed to the world's knowledge that his or her dreams fade-his or her belief system breaks down, and the metamorphosis into a cold, often cruel, reality occurs.

    By the time I was a third-grader in Okolona, Mississippi, I had begun to seriously question the reality of Santa Claus. Like most children my age, I had been exposed to the beliefs of older children and my peers and had long heard that there was no Santa Claus, and I admit to doubting his existence. After all, they claimed that there was no way Santa could get around to visit all the children of the world in a single night even with the aid of a magic sleigh and team of flying reindeer. Others had stopped believing in Santa altogether, insisting that Santa Claus was none other than our very own moms and dads.

    Most all the Christmas Eves of my childhood, I spent with my parents in our home, but the Christmas occurring the year I entered the third grade would be different for my family. Instead of spending Christmas in Okolona, my parents decided to visit my grandparents in Thaxton, Mississippi. When I learned that Santa would be dropping my gifts by my grandparents' home that year, I was certain I would discover for myself the truth about Santa Claus.

    I remember seeing my parents load up the car for the trip, and I took special note of what was loaded, looking for any packages that might possibly contain whatever it was that Santa was to deliver. Yet, as I observed the goings on from various strategic and concealed positions, hoping to see something suspicious, I never saw any Santa "stuff."

    I have only a vague recollection of that day, but I was definitely convinced my parents could not have been Santa. I watched them too closely on Christmas Eve for them to have slipped something into the car without my notice. I am sure I got more than one present that year, but the one present I remember was a two-gun set of cap pistols with leather holsters made to look just like those of Roy Rogers. I am certain I wore them out pretty quickly by blazing away at imagined badmen with my silvery pistols producing loud bangs from the roll of caps and plenty of smoke as the powder burned.

    For non-believers, Santa might just be a made-up somebody, a myth, or whatever, but in 1950, he was a real person in my mind. Anyway, whenever any of us children asked Mom about whether or not Santa was real, she would only state that as long as we believed, he would come to see us on Christmas Eve. I don't have a Mom or Dad these days, but Santa Claus still makes a stop at my house, and I always receive a gift.


    Wayne L. Carter is a Retail Technology Specialist for SUPERVALU, a wholesale food distributor. Wayne, a 1965 graduate of The University of Mississippi, makes his home in Pontotoc, Mississippi, along with his wife, Barbara, and son, Jason. His daughter, Rayanne and her husband, Anson Adams, reside in Belmont, Mississippi. Wayne and Barbara have three granddaughters.

    Wayne's principal hobby is writing. He distributes a weekly newsletter, Ridge Rider News, to more than one hundred friends and family members through U.S. Mail, E-mail, and online at www.rrnews.org. This newsletter is now in its eleventh year of publication.

    Write Wayne at wlc@rrnews.org.

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