The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

My First Visit With Santa

By David M. Williams © 1991

Issue: December, 1991

During the height of one Christmas season when I was about four or five, my older sister took me to a downtown department store, to pay my first visit to Santa Claus. The store was filled with frantic shoppers searching desperately for those special presents to make family, friends, and lovers happy. Like the store, Santa's North Pole was uncomfortably crowded. Crowded by little boys and girls anxious to tell Santa how good they had been during the year.

Playing on the theme that Christmas should be seen through the eyes of a child, the department store had developed a unique application of its in-store music and paging system. Hooked into this system was a microphone located right next to Santa's big chair. This arrangement allowed shoppers in the store to hear Santa's intimate conversations with expectant kids.

As one of these expectant kids, I took my place at the end of a very long line. Sensing that I was not looking forward to standing in queue, my sister grabbed hold of my hand and assured me that talking to Santa Claus would be worth the wait. And we waited and waited for what seemed like hours. By this time, I had quite a case of the squirms. But with my sister's constant encouragement to be patient, my fidgeting, at least externally, was reduced.

Finally, my time had arrived. Although I was now very uneasy, I followed the long-legged, pretty, blond elfette and took my seat on the big fellow's lap. Santa smiled and asked, "And what would you like for Christmas, little boy?" Nervously I stuttered, "I want, I want, I want..." Santa, being a graduate in child psychology, reassuringly patted my knee. Then as he chuckled, it seemed to catch the ears of busy shoppers throughout the store. It was almost as though the whole store stopped to listen to what Santa was going to say to this frightened little boy.

What they heard was Santa ask, "Now, now, young man, tell Santa what you really want."

Boosted by a surge of confidence and the overwhelming call of nature, I shouted triumphantly, "I WANT TO GO TO THE BATHROOM!"

Santa, always eager to fulfill a little boy's wishes and perhaps a little worried about the trickle-down theory, rushed me off to the men's room quicker than you could say "Merry Christmas!"