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A Glimpse from Christmas Past
By D. C. Donahue, Stephen Adams
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2013 D. C. Donahue
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It was Christmas Eve, when snow started lightly falling down. There I was gifts in hand, as I hustled through the town. The stores were all opened, as their lights twinkled with life. Streets were bustling with shoppers, with last minute gifts in flight. Salvation Army bell ringers were stationed at many corners and stores. They'd offer 'Seasons Greetings', in soliciting for the needy, the poor. Main Street was strung with garland and wreaths that ran from pole to pole ... to City Hall down Broad Street where the Mummers soon would stroll. There, William Penn stood with a grin; smiling down on the carolers below. Oh, what a beautiful town this is when covered in a blanket of snow.
Now finished with shopping I pulled on my gloves stepping out into the night. I turned a collar to the cold, wrapping my scarf around tight. The pavements now newly coated were slowing everything down. The streets were covered as buses and cars slushed their way through town. Thinking of nights like tonight and how much colder downtown always seemed ... maybe it's due to the big buildings being surrounded by rivers and streams? Carefully I walked, rounding a corner, so not to slip or fall. When glancing into a shop window I was taken by surprise and awe.
One last child, list in hand, stood anxiously beaming with delight ... waiting to see Santa, in full regalia, on this magical wondrous night. Gently he lifted the child to his lap with a roar of a laugh and a smile. I watched him whisper in their ear, listening intently all the while. They told him of the gifts they wanted as he assured them he would try. Saying, 'only if you promise to be good all year', as he waited their reply.
He said, "the elves keep me in the know of the children who are naughty or nice. So, be sure to listen to your parents and teachers; heeding their advice". He added, "don't forget to leave some goodies on a table by the door ... as this business of delivering toys and gifts is certainly no easy chore". Then as he lifted the child down, I was staring at myself through the glass. Suddenly remembering the faces and places at a Glimpse from a Christmas Past.
I thought of a time, when shopping with my parents, who now both are gone. It was always Sister Nancy, Larry and me who always seemed to be tagging along. First stop was Gimbel's to see Santa, while our parents warned that we'd better be good. Then it was onto the H&H Automat, for some milkshakes and a bite of food. Next stop was Lit Brother's, to Old London Town, and their "Dickens' Village" display. You could walk the cobblestone streets of Marley and Scrooge; where the Cratchett children all played. You can look on with Scrooge, to a corner by the fireplace, where there stands a crutch by a vacant stool. But not after the ghosts of Christmas have all visited; showing Ebenezer he was just an old fool. We always ended at Wanamaker's, timing it, to see the Christmas fountain and light show. We'd try to get there early to sit atop the Eagle or get a good spot on the floor.
It was then I looked up from the child in the window and as Santa's eyes met mine; that he smiled at me scratching his head sending me 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 maybe 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 finally going to rest aside the myths of my older siblings and friends. That Santa wasn't just a regular guy but someone I also knew as a friend!
Excerpted from A Glimpse from Christmas Past by D. C. Donahue. Copyright © 2013 by D. C. Donahue. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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