Last week I mentioned my father’s love of Christmas and that I’d share a Christmas story this week. If truth be told it was not only my dad who loved Christmas but I was his Christmas elf from when I was about 15. We’d go out in the neighborhood late Christmas Eve night to the homes of cousins and friends. They’d leave Christmas gifts in a designated location, we’d pick them up and fill Santa’s bag and ring the bell. I’ve never realized this until this moment, but even from that early age I was concerned about the experience the children would have with Santa and tried to get them to talk to him. As I reflect on these memories I’m amazed how clear they are in my mind. I can remember the clear cold air. The quiet on the streets and the houses all dressed in holiday lights. I don’t know who was more excited my father or I bringing gifts to children and seeing their excitement. Creating life long memories for many of them is truly a gift.
One of my favorite stories is one that happened a year or two before my father died. I believe it was the last time he was able to play Santa. The Bensonhurst Lions sponsored a party one afternoon at a local clubhouse for a group of special needs children. Most of them were hearing impaired. Dan, and I decided to drive to Brooklyn to be there and help out. My Dad by this time not well, rallied to embrace these delightful children. I’ll never forget the little girl who squealed with delight when she noticed that Santa had hearing aids just like she did. I don’t think Dan and I will ever that moment. She ran to get the other children to show them Santa’s ears. The joy of that moment is easily recalled as is the pride I have when I think of the generosity of spirit that characterized my father’s life. He has left quite the legacy.
Wishing all who celebrate Christmas a Blessed one, and a most healthy, prosperous, and joy filled 2011 and New Decade. Next blog will be in January.