In a word . . . Santy Claus

 

Dear Santy,

As you know in our part of the world we call you Santy. Some may feel Santa is “more proper” but, excuse me, I don’t.

I’ve been nice for years and it remains very many decades since you brought me anything at Christmas. I confess, even as the years pass by now with the speed of a day in childhood, I find it harder and harder to remain nice.

You are not helping things.

I appeal to you not to forget me AGAIN next Thursday night. It’s not fair. I mean even my brother heard you on the roof of our house one Christmas.

I didn’t. Why?

I know I saw your footprints in the ashes beside the kitchen fire. It was the first time I realised you wore wellingtons like my father. The same size too.

And I saw your teeth marks in the Christmas cake left behind, even the drop of wine you left in one of the good glasses. And there was the bit of a carrot left by Rudolph. But all of that was second hand.

Okay. So I met you in person once. But so did my brother. Anything I did or had, he had to have or do. And I am older than him. You had come to the town by train and we followed you up to the cinema where you gave us handfuls of sweets and you said, “Hello, Teenie”, to my mother.

I nearly fell out of my standing. Of all the millions of mammies in all of the world Santy knew my mother, and well, because no one called her Teenie except her friends. Everyone else called her Mrs McGarry.

I was so taken by this I hardly noticed Larry, Curly or Mo as The Three Stooges did their thing in the cinema until Larry and Curly tried to shove Mo down a sink hole and my brother started to roar, and I did too, and we had to be taken out of the cinema by our mortified mother. You weren’t there on our way out.

Don’t forget me AGAIN on Thursday.

Santy Claus is believed to have originated in late 18th-century America from the Dutch Sante Klaas, from Middle Dutch Sinter Niklaas in reference to St Nicholas, a bishop of Asia Minor and patron saint for children.

inaword@irishtimes.com

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