I didn't think in this day and age that children still wrote letters to Santa. Grown ups barely write letters anymore and children are certainly more tech savvy than I, so I falsely assumed if they did anything, they emailed or texted or tweeted the North Pole. But an article online, suggests otherwise. It seems there is a very real possibility that the USPS may not be able to deliver Santa Mail to Santa this year. Budget cuts or not enough sorters to sort, a reporter is so very sad to report.
I doubt I am able to explain our nation's debt problems to a five year old, so I sought a more local and more plausible avenue to correct the situation. To facilitate young flights of fancy. To assure a prompt delivery and a rapid response from the reindeer shepherd up North.
This is a job for Grandmas!
I pull on my coat, lace up my sensible shoes, tuck a kleenex up my sleeve, roll down my knee high panty hose, wrap my head in a portable plastic rain hat, slip my flip phone in my pocket, back the car down the driveway, swing around the block to double check that I really did shut the garage door and head off to my local post office.
I really and truly did NOT do any of the things I just said I did, but any grandmother worth her salt must keep up appearances, especially at this time of year. The truth is, most of the time, adhering to the rules on page six of the Grandmother's Etiquette Guide, I wear a piece of duct tape over my mouth, so that if I am asked for advice, I keep it to myself.
I stand in line for over an hour and when I reach the head of the line, he scratches his head and says there is nothing to be done, no time left, no ready hands available. So I offer up my services.
He reaches under the counter, shoves aside the holiday stamps and hands me not a stack, nor a box, but a sizable carton of letters, each one addressed in a child's scrawl or printed in crayon.
The North Pole
I gather up the letters poking out the top and tuck the carton under my arm. Believers. A carton of believers. I could not would not let them down. My mission, though seemingly impossible, 'lo the week before Christmas, is an appointment I surely must keep.
I too am a writer of letters and posts. I consider these glittery, colorfully illustrated missives in pen or in pencil or ink, the early stirrings of imagination. The illustrations, primitive art. The design and the glitter, a budding sense of fashion and flair. The sincerity and directness, a formal first opinion piece. A creative's first pitch. A search for one's voice. A desire to communicate.
Those tiny tims of faith, who dream big dreams, who despite their circumstances still firmly believe in perhaps not a gift, but at least a reply. I, distant kin of the formidable Emily Post, believe in Thank You Notes. Acknowledgements. I think I am the only person left on the planet who believes that every email, letter or post deserves a response.
So here, late at night, with the stars overhead twinkling and giggling their delight, I open each and every letter. One at a time. Glitter rains down, plus stickers and stamps. This, I assure you, is NOT an invasion of privacy, nor an act of sabotage.
This, this is an intervention. For I am a certified Santa's helper. An elf. A fulfiller of dreams. A conduit to the land up North where the reindeer graze and the toy shop buzzes with the workbench sounds of Rap Tap Tap, and the background hum of Ho Ho Ho.
I do! I swear!
Have a license on my wall.
A notarized, signed sealed and delivered PHD in Santa Studies,
from the Jolly Old Professor Himself.
I am a scribe. A knighted believer in all that is Santa. I have never missed a Christmas Eve, my plate of cookies by the fire, my eyes squeezed faithfully shut, and hope in my heart that sleep will echo with the sound of reindeer on my roof.
Santa will pause, then land in the soot,
and know its MY stocking by the size of my foot.
Even at this age when my eyesight grows dim,
I'm a certified professional believer in him.
A Magna Cum Laude Graduate of the Santa School Of Wonder
The letters await.
Dear Santa...I've been good...Love, Annie
Dear Santa...I've had a few bad days, but I promise to be better...Your friend, Louis
Dear Santa...Sorry for the peanut butter stains on the page, but this has to reach you in time, it just HAS TO. Hurry up and thank you... Ed
Dear Santa...Can you bring Dad home in time for Christmas, that's all I wanted to say. Thank you very much...Sincerely, Bella
Dear Santa...My Mom lost her job and says money is tight, but I will leave a map to my piggy bank so you can find it, okay?... Yours truly, Maggie.
Dear Santa...This is my cat. And this is my dog. And this is my sister, who takes all my good stuff and breaks it and I just need a replacement, no not a new sister, well not really, but maybe...This is a coupon for the store closest to my house so you won't have to go too far out of your way. Bye for now. Martin(I prefer Marty)
Dear Johnny and Benny, Agnes and Fred
Willard and Crystal and Eric and Ted...
Attention to Marty and Bella and Jim
Kathy and Kitty and Scottie and Tim...
Season's Greetings Dear Children
Ere you turn out the light,
The Grandmas of Christmas
Are with you tonight.
Won't you gather with me at the ticking of twelve
With the cookies and milk on the fireplace shelve
Won't you place just one finger aside of your nose
And give Santa a boost, for he certainly knows
That all elves are welcome, all hands to the ready
Making wishes come true marks a hand that is steady.
Be thoughtful and gentle, be decent and mild
Just answer the letter of one little child.
For everyone, anyone, can be Santa tonight.
The Yard Yetis A Gardener's Tale continues...