Enjoy the magic of the season

As a child, I believed in Santa Claus. How could I not believe!
Every Christmas, Santa gave me wonderful gifts–gifts any little girl would love. Dolls with real hair, baby dolls, a Flossy Flirt doll, a wicker doll carriage, and paper dolls (a three-foot Shirley Temple and the Dionne quintuplets with lots of matching dresses).
What fun!
At our house, Santa came on Christmas Eve, not Christmas morning. He came through the front door because we had no chimney, only a pot-bellied stove with a long hot stovepipe–a dangerous situation for Santa!
And one year, Santa was especially sloppy and spilled a trail of nuts all the way from the front door to the tree.
I can’t remember when I first caught on that Santa was really my parents, but it didn’t matter because Santa came on Christmas Eve anyway. So, in a way, I never stopped believing in the magic of Santa.
My mother was an expert at making magic for little children. Like most people, my parents were poor in the Depression. But somehow, my mother always managed to find “pennies” to continue the magic as Jim and I grew up.
As a result, we had many interesting excursions. She wanted us to experience everything at least once.
When the circus came to nearby Watertown, we went, especially to see the elephants and giraffes. There, Jim and I had magical pink cotton candy.
Then, a sideshow came to our little village of Lowville and we went because otherwise we would never see a whale. As I remember, the whale smelled terrible, and the tiny mermaid was behind glass and waved to us.
There were Sunday trips–one to the Adirondack Mountains, where we visited Lake Placid and drove up Whiteface Mountain. A magical place that I visited for the second time with my husband on our honeymoon.
Another Sunday, we drove to the Thousand Islands. We couldn’t afford the boat tour of the islands or to see Boldt Castle, but we drove over the first span of the new five-span bridge that connects the U.S. and Canada.
There were picnics at nearby lakes and creeks, including Chase Lake, where Uncle Joe and Aunt Anna had a beautiful log cabin, and my favourite–Whetstone Gulf.
I loved to wade in the slate-bottomed creek. I always took a large piece of slate and a small piece home with me to write with.
There were other excursions later, such as travelling 100 miles to Syracuse to hear Billy Graham speak and to see “A Man Called Peter.”
But enough. You could say that my mother was foolish and extravagant for enticing my father to spend money we really didn’t have. Yes, you could say that if you wanted to. But I don’t think that!
My mother was a dreamer. She knew what she wanted for herself and for her children. Mostly, she wanted her children to have the education she desperately wanted and was denied.
And when the love of her life (my gentle, funny, kind father) died far too young, she reinvented herself.
All her life, my mother saved “pennies” and other coins. After her death, I went to her bedroom closet and there, as I expected, was her jar of coins.
What was her dream at 82? I’ll never know. Something for her family, I’m sure.
What a legacy! And, especially at Christmas time, I still feel the magic!
Marie Snider is an award-winning health writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@cox.net