From Santa with Love
by Kitty L. Mickelson
At Christmas no request is too large or small, no person is too young or old to hope their dreams will come true.
I remember back when I was nine years old standing in the line to see Santa. If I wasn’t the eldest child in line, I was certainly the tallest. My friends didn’t believe in Santa anymore, but that didn’t bother me. I believed.
When it was my turn, I not only told Santa what I wanted for Christmas, I assured him how much I believed. He reached into his sack, handed me a candy cane, and sent me on my way.
“That was quick,” said my dad, who was waiting for me. “Did you tell Santa what you wanted for Christmas?”
“This year I only want one thing,” I replied, spreading my arms wide. “My own spaceship.”
My father’s face went blank. I guess he had expected me to ask for one of the special dolls that were popular then in the early 1950’s. But I had been hooked on Space Patrol and Captain Jet since we got our first television set and thought nothing could be more exciting than driving through the universe.
However, during Christmas vacation, Clyde, our town bully, made me his special target. “Santa Claus,” he derided me. “I suppose you’ve seen a reindeer fly, too?”
“No,” I said defensively. “Some things I just know.”
“Like getting a spaceship for Christmas?” Clyde hooted. “You must have rocks in you head!”
I didn’t answer. Clyde was three years older than I was and he always had the last word.
On my way back to our neat house with the fenced-in yard, tears burned my cheeks. For the first time I had doubts. When I got home I found Father sitting in the living-room recliner. “Why the long face?” he asked.
“The kids say I’m crazy because I asked Santa for a spaceship,” I sniffed. “Do you think it’s crazy?”
The Christmas tree lights reflected in his glasses. “The only thing that matters is what you think.”
I sighed. “It does seem silly, I guess. I don’t even know how Santa would get it here, do you?”
“Not offhand,” said Father, smiling. “I believe anything is possible, though.”
That Christmas morning I woke up early still hoping that somehow my dreams of a spaceship could come true. I ran downstairs to find that Santa had been there. Our stockings on the hearth were filled to overflowing, and the milk and cookies I’d left out the night before were gone–but there was no sign of a spaceship. I was disappointed but not really surprised. Asking for a spaceship was dumb. Clyde was right.
Christmas music flowed from the radio and the tree lights burned brightly against the pine branches. While Mother poured cocoa into our cups and Father distributed the presents, I quietly rummaged through my stocking. Among the small items, I found a note. It directed me to look in the front yard. I ran to the door and threw it open. A group of kids with awestruck faces were huddled in our driveway, their Christmas presents forgotten. I ran outside and pushed through the circle, hardly able to believe my eyes. There stood a five-foot long spaceship, built of plywood, with four wheels and a padded seat that faced a panel of instruments just like the ones in a real cockpit. Though only pedal power could make it move, there were enough switches and dials on the control panel to keep any child happy. Everyone was pleading for a chance to ride my spaceship–even Clyde.
Our imagination took us to many far galaxies that day. In between those trips I saw my father’s face, watching from the window. I knew the spacecraft had not come from Santa. My father created it with a hammer and nails and, most of all, love.
Years have passed since then, but the memory of the spaceship is still alive at Christmas time. My father had not only given me my heart’s desire that year, he helped me to discover what he already knew–that Santa Claus is the magic of believing.