The night I saw Santa

Today, I’ve been conjuring up memories of Christmas past. On Christmas eve when I was little I was so excited about Santa coming that I couldn’t sleep. I would squeeze my eyes shut and try my hardest to go to sleep because Santa couldn’t come while I was awake. As I grew older I wanted to see Santa. It wasn’t enough to see that he had been there on Christmas morning. I needed to see him for myself. So, I would struggle to stay awake until he came. I thought if I lay very still under the covers and listened very closely I would hear him, and then I would jump out of bed and catch him in the act. It only worked one time.

This particular Christmas we all spent at Grandma’s house. And when I say “all” I mean parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Grandma’s house wasn’t very big so it was decided that all twenty or so cousins would sleep on pallets in the living room, where the Christmas tree was. It wasn’t easy finding space for that many kids in a fully furnished room, but somehow our Moms and Dads managed it and we eventually settled down to go to sleep.

I lay there still as a mouse with my cousin Rusty’s stinky feet six inches from my face for what seemed like hours. I may have dosed off but sometime during the night I heard a noise. I didn’t dare move. I opened my eyes just a little, and there he was. Santa was making his way toward the Christmas tree. He was carrying a huge bag and he was stepping over and among and around all those bodies and he never woke any of the others. He was perfectly silent and graceful and magical.

I held my breath for fear he would discover me watching as he quickly went about his business. He emptied his bag under the tree, and then just as gracefully and silently he made his way back through the throng of sleeping kids. As he slipped out the door and into the night I actually heard him say, “Ho, Ho, Ho. Merry Christmas.” And then he was gone.

The wonder, the excitement, the genuine joy that I felt in that moment is my wish for you this Holiday season. Merry Christmas and may God bless you and yours.

Warmest regards,

Tim Couch

What’s the difference?

by Tim Couch

Less than six weeks ago a majority of the registered voters in this Country sold their vote to elect a Democratic President. During the campaign the Democratic candidate said vote for me and the government will provide health care for you and your family; vote for me and the government will provide higher education for your children; vote for me and we will take wealth away from those who have earned it and spread it around to those who need it.

Now, along comes Governor Blagojevich and he offers to sell a seat in the U.S. Senate to the highest bidder. What’s the difference?

The difference is that Blagojevich was foolish enough to say it out loud, “I want to make money.”

The Democratically controlled administration made you think it was all about you.

Pop J’s Chocolate Covered Cherries

This time of year always brings up memories of Pop J. His name was John W. Allen and he was my maternal grandpa. Pop J loved chocolate covered cherries at Christmas time. It may be just my memory but they are the only store-bought candies I can remember being at Grandma’s house, and somehow that made them special. That, and the fact that even though Pop J loved them he was always willing to share. The house would be filled with homemade cookies and candies and country cooking that Grandma and Mom had no doubt been working on for days, but when Pop J offered me one of his chocolate covered cherries that was the best of the best. He would be sitting in his easy chair watching whatever ballgame was on T.V. and I would standing at his knee. After a while he would reach over and pick up the box of cherries from the side table. He would never just hand me a cherry. He would open the box and present it to me so that I could pick the one I wanted. I would look them over carefully until I found the very best one. And then, I would leave that one for him.

I don’t know why he loved chocolate covered cherries. I never asked him and he never said. I wish I could say I knew him well. My Pop J was, by all accounts, a very interesting man. He was a farmer and a rancher, although the land he farmed and the cattle he ranched generally belonged to someone else. He made wine from whatever grew in excess in the orchard or garden. He was considered among the best when it came to witching water for a well. And, he once turned down a movie producer who considered him the perfect character for his movie. All these things I learned after he was gone. When I was young he was working hard to provide for family, and when I was older I had other interests. Now, I realize how much I missed.

This Christmas when you’re with a loved one don’t just spend time with them. Make an effort to learn something new about them and to allow them to learn something new about you. That is a gift that will stay with you forever. Merry Christmas.

With warm wishes,

Tim Couch