In the middle of the hustle and bustle of the holiday eve, I ran through Kroger where there were no carts available, I passed hundreds of cars doing last minute shopping, I listened to ESPN radio instead of Christmas carols, and then I stopped for a moment to ponder, is this what I remember about Christmas? Not so much.
I remember the meals that we ate, surrounded by family.
I remember my grandfather letting me hand out the presents from under the tree.
I remember hoping that the grapefruit at the toe of my stocking would be something different next year.
I remember my father hunting Santa.
Every year, my parents would drive us around the neighborhood peering into the night sky for any possible glimpse of Santa and his reindeer. Occasionally we saw his red light move across the sky, but usually Saint Nick was nowhere to be found.
Empty handed, my father would promise to stay up all night in his hunting gear, sit by the fireplace, and wait to catch the jolly ole trespasser from invading our home. My sister and I pleaded for mercy on his round fat soul, but finally we surrendered to bed, hoping that Santa would elude the hidden hunter.
And every year he did.
But I don’t remember what he brought me.
I don’t remember an Atari One or an iPhone 30. Can’t remember what my new clothes looked like, and I’m pretty sure I spent all my cash on nickel candy.
I do remember the butterflies of anticipation, the people that were there to love me, our traditions, and the excitement that began when we got to see that Santa had survived once again.
For these things I am thankful again, and I pray that all our patients, our team, and their families have a Christmas filled with great memories this year.
Santa Season opens tonight. You might want to give it a try. I bet you will remember.