Reeking of liquor and cigarette smoke is my first memory of meeting “Santa Claus.” I was a little over four years old. My mom’s best friend, Ronnie, took me to meet him at the only grocery store in our small town while my mom worked. He was positioned in front of a fake fireplace. I told Ronnie that I didn’t want to go close but she gave me a shove. St. Nick plopped me on top of his lap and burped. I was perturbed. A photo was snapped of me looking very unhappy.
Much to my parent’s consternation I announced that Santa wasn’t real. They tried to convince me otherwise but I was certain that it was a big hoax. A few days after my encounter with Smelly Santa I was loaded into the car with my sisters and taken on a long drive. We bounced over country roads and ended up on an isolated farm. At the end of a road was a hutch, which was painted white and decorated with candy canes and other holiday décor. The inside was warmed by a potbelly stove and crammed with Christmas paraphernalia.
A jolly Man In Red with a real white beard greeted us. He smelled of soap. He knew a lot about me and my skepticism ebbed a bit. Why the heck would Santa bother to sit in a tiny building in Minnesota? Doesn’t he have a lot to do besides talk to a kid? I was never completely convinced but played along because it made my parents happy.
After that experience I began to question everything. If Jolly Old St. Nicolas wasn’t real, what was? What other lies had my parents told me?? My journey into esoteric thought began… and hasn’t ended.
© 2011 Ima B. Musing