01 December 2006

Close Encounters Of An Elfin Kind

Yuletide Memory 1

A water main broke last night, and so the city was out outside digging and whacking through the wee smalls. I awoke now and then when the hammering or thumping was loud enough. They were in a double hurry because we all needed our water turned back on and a storm was coming. It arrived just as they were finishing. I heard the sound of rain turning to sleet – that rat-a-tat sound of ice on windows and rooftops and falling through bare branches and landing on the cold ground. My first yuletide memory begins with that sound...

... “All is calm, all is bright.” I am awake in my bed, one of two in a room I share with my younger brother. Some sound has roused me, but in the fog of sleep I cannot tell what it is.

It is Christmas morning, but only officially. To me, at six years old, it is the middle of the night. Everyone is asleep.

Has Santa been here yet? I know I must not go downstairs. Something dreadful awaits the child who sneaks downstairs in the dark of Christmas Eve.

Suddenly cold and lonesome I creep out of my bed and into my parent’s bedroom. They are sound asleep and yet somehow rouse enough to let me slide under their warmer blankets. Mom sleeps on the doorway side of the bed, naturally. I slip in next to her.

Awake I wonder whether Santa has been here and how long it will be until morning. A window pours moonlight onto the bed. It was sleeting and snowing when we went to sleep and now the sky is clearing. Wind whistles past the house, a frightening sound any other night but this. But I am wide awake wondering if Santa has come or not.

Scratch, rattle, scrape. Something is on the roof! What else could it be?

I force my eyes to close lest I see. And then it is morning.

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