…It was then I looked up from the child in the window as Santa’s eyes met mine. He smiled at me scratching his beard, sending me back to a certain place and time. It was a memory from my childhood in a moment we both had shared. It suddenly came rushing back to me and I knew, he too was aware. It was another cold snowy Christmas Eve so much like that of tonight. I was five going on six, no wait, six going on seven; surely that had to be right. I remembered so clearly that lost memory from way back in sixty-three. I had decided to hide, to find, to see what I could see. I was going to rest aside the myths of older siblings and friends. That Santa wasn’t just a regular guy but someone I knew as my friend!
I had placed a plate of carrots and cookies on a table beside a tall glass of milk. Hunkering down behind a tall chair by the fireplace, I was wrapped in a blanket of silk. I had some time to wonder about things I never gave much thought to before. Did Santa really eat all those cookies left by children of the world by their doors? Well at least that explained why Santa became a ripe, plump and jolly old elf. But I quickly let this thought escape me laughing quietly to myself. My thoughts changed to reindeer eating carrots hmm…wouldn’t they prefer some good hay or straw? Yikes! Was I good enough this year to get that new bike at all. when he comes to call? Yawning, I let my mind wonder to the grand entrance he was surely to make, Maybe he’d enter the house through a doorway, or come down the chimney for tradition sake. Perhaps he’d come through the front door using some elf dust or magic keys, or just pop in through a latched window, ever so nonchalantly.
I just started drifting off when I heard jingle bells not so far away. They seemed to come from across the road or just down the way. I peeked out the window, rubbing my eyes, and scanned the glistening street below. Trees and cars were covered in white and nothing moved in the street lights warm glow. It was then I got a glimpse of him, as his reindeer danced in the air. He made driving the sleigh look simple, as he handled the reins with care. I watched as they darted, from house to house, before settling on our home. The sled landed softly in a whoosh…and I tensed with excitement that showed. The reindeer were settling from their prancing and pawing on the roof up above. Santa swiftly climbed down swiping the snow using his sturdy gloves.
He came bounding down with a quiet thud, taking long looks around with a smile. He placed his sack on the floor, wiped his brow, and decided to sit for a while. He stepped softly to the chair I was hidden behind just as natural as can be. He called me by name to my astonishment saying, “Come and visit with me.” He stood looking me over through glasses that sat precariously on the end of his nose. He rocked back and forth, hands clasped behind him, swaying from heel to toe. He said, “I knew you were there all along, as nothing escapes me you see! For if I was fooled , by every child hiding to catch me, what kind of elf would I be?”
If you enjoyed this so will your family, neighbors and friends. They like you will have a Dickens good time for years to come!
I wrote many of these short unfinished stories very late at night so please excuse any typo’s. After all the important thing to remember is the Blog post, story and writer. D.C. Donahue/Author “A Glimpse from Christmas Past”
Originally posted on dcdonahuepresents:
What is your earliest memory? Describe it in detail: the place, the setting, the sights, smells, and sounds.
I can still remember like it was yesterday a moment when I was not quite 4 when my brother Larry and I were awakened to see a special visitor. It was a cold and blustery weeknight just a few short days before Christmas. It was the kind of night where the moving leaves created dancing shadows through the big sycamores that lined out street. As we came down played games with your eyes.
Slipping under the gopher holes before the old ladies lost their home to Meyers Playground. Well it’s back to Cobbs Creek for me…
We were just city kids looking for someplace close with an open field to play ball…football, baseball, basketball Well you get the idea. The only problem was is was a property for what we were told was an ‘old ladies’ home. This pristine unadulterated field was prime pickings sitting in the heart of our tight community in southwest Philadelphia. Right smack dab between 58th and 59th street and between Chester and Kingsessing avenues was a square city block perfect grassed for us local ball players.
So what were we to do but to create gopher holes under the fence hoping to get our game in before we were chased off by the custodian or the cops. Thank God those gopher holes ran all around the property not to mention the far side corners has other housing and storage facilities for us to duck behind.
Well the parish we lived in was Most Blessed Sacrament more formally known as MBS. It was the most populated catholic grade school in the US made up of predominantly Irish, Italian and German ethnicity. Many came from parts of west or south Philly but don’t tell anyone from our side of the tracks that. It has been said between 1965-1967 there were almost 3700 kids in the grade schools. Yes you heard right three buildings the Marion, The Pius and the newly built Annex. So as anyone with half a brain could see the ‘old ladies’ were eventually going to lose this piece of property.
I can still remember when the large building was being converted into an indoor gym and sports facility. Shortly after that the basketball, tennis courts and baseball diamonds went in followed by a large playground. The playground had a half wall that ran partially around the west and south side with a walk that lead up to the gym in the main building. It wasn’t long before the sign went up and it officially became Myer’s Playground.
Well the gopher holes eventually all disappeared as we no longer had to sneak in. The only problem now was the kids like a moth to a flame it drew from all over. Soon the grass fields we played baseball and touch football fade large patches of dirt where the 3 baseball fields now were. The grass between them creating the outfields became the football field and so most days it was hard for the local guys to just play a quiet game where nobody bothered us. I think they must have been afraid to either get dirty, rip something on the cyclone fence or just didn’t want to bother being chased in order for the chance to play ball on that beautiful grass.
So us locals still made due with old reliable Cobbs Creek Park. Home of the plateau at the top of the path that led down to the lower fields on the north side of the creek. We mostly played rough touch on the plateau as it was surrounded by large pine trees, the kind that bleed amber sap in the fall or sycamores load with monkey balls and who could forget the Johnny Smoker trees. What kid didn’t turn green and get sick from trying to smoke one of them.
The path wound down over old tree roots and large stones which seemed scattered willy nilly. They helped you work your way down the long steep incline to outfield of the large baseball diamond at the bottom. Left and center fields ran along the creek;right field ran down around to the first base side and behind the field was a steep incline up to Whitby Avenue. This hill was more formidably know in winter as the ‘nutcracker’. As half way down the slope had a double quick which made your sled hop in the air and bounce as you flew down. On a good day you could almost reach the creek and if you ever looked at a Babe Ruth field that’s quite a ride. So it was so aptly named the ‘nutcracker’ by the boys and men of the area.
The other side of the creek ran up a steep incline on the side of Indian Rock to Mount Moraih cementary and wound its way quite a distance into the far reaches of southwest Philly on the south side and the west side ran into Yeadon. I might add that Cobbs Creek is part of Fairmount Park which may only be rivaled in size by Central Park in New York City. They were both also designed by Olstead who was the architect behind building the Biltmore Estate among others.
Well I could go on and on about the life and adventures of Cobbs Creek but that will have to wait for another day.
Written and Blogged on 10/03/13
A Glimpse from Christmas Past
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