One day, Santa Clause came to town and all the children went to the fire station to see him. As they were standing in line, Fred's older brother told him, "Now you be sure to save whatever treat Santa gives you because that will be the only Christmas we have this year." Someone overheard this. They knew the situation this family was in and they had a feeling, they needed to do something.
That night was Christmas Eve and the children were getting ready for bed when they heard the sound of bells. Then there was a knock at the door. When the door was opened, there stood Santa Clause. Santa had arrived not in a sleigh, but in a pick up truck filled with food. The family was overjoyed. As the truck was unloaded, the adults looked over to find the children eating the flour raw. They were so hungry that it was irresistible. That Christmas, Santa worked a miracle that has never been forgotten.
In honor of that wonderful Santa, Fred's father dressed up each year and brought each child a treat. It was a sweet tradition that reminded everyone of the year when Santa had been a godsend. Fred grew up and had a very large family of his own. And every year he would dress as Santa and bring an orange for his children to remind them of the Santa from his youth. Fred's children grew into adults. One of them is my husband's father, Brent. Each year, when they heard the bells, all the kids would hurry into their beds and do their best to look "asleep." Santa would come and bring oranges and promise to return when everyone was really asleep. Now Brent's children are grown with children of their own. Each of them carries on the Santa tradition. On Christmas Eve, I will take the kids upstairs and tuck them in bed, while my husband slips away. Then we will hear it...the bells. "Quick! Turn out the lights! Santa is coming!" Then up the stairs he comes as the kids try to contain their excitement and pretend to be asleep. "Ho!Ho!Ho!" he says. He visits each child and gives them an orange or a candy cane and then he leaves promising to return when everyone is asleep. At that point I flip on the lights and the little ones squeal with delight that they have just seen Santa. It's very real for them. I manage to distract them just long enough for hubby to make a mad dash to change his clothes and then come out of the bathroom or somewhere else wondering what he "missed."
It's a fun tradition that we hope our children will carry into their families. One act of kindness can have an impact greater than anyone could ever expect. At last count, Fred had 156 great grandchildren that are all being taught this story of love and charity. I wonder if "Santa" ever knew what an impact his act of charity and love had on this family?