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Is There Really a Santa Claus?

 

This question is an age-old one and has been answered in many ways over the years. This story, written by the prolific writer, Anonymous, tells the story this way.

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: “There is no Santa Claus,” she jeered. “Even dummies know that!”

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her “World-Famous” Cinnamon Buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. So it had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. “No Santa Claus?” she snorted…. “Ridiculous! Don’t believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let’s go.”

“Go? Go where, Grandma?” I asked. I hadn’t even finished my Second World-Famous Cinnamon Bun. “Where” turned out to be Kerby’s General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. 

As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. “Take this money,” she said, “and buy something for someone who needs it. I’ll wait for you in the car.” Then she turned and walked out of Kerby’s.

I was only eight years old. I’d often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, people who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock’s grade-two class.

Bobby Decker didn’t have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn’t have a cough. What he didn’t have was a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat! I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.

“Is this a Christmas present for someone?” the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. “Yes, ma’am,” I replied shyly. “It’s for Bobby.” The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn’t get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, “To Bobby, From Santa Claus” on it.

Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker’s house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa’s helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobby’s house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. “All right, Santa Claus,” she whispered, “get going.” I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby. 

Fifty years haven’t dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker’s bushes.

That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were, ridiculous. 

Santa was alive and well. And we were on his team.

May you always have love to share, health to spare, and friends who care.

And may you always believe in the magic of Santa Claus!

Story by Anonymous

Featured Recipe        Mushroom Bacon Spread

Today’s recipe is a twofer. You can use it as an appetizer or party finger food as I do here today by using it as a spread or dip for crackers or bread. 

Alternatively, you can spoon the mixture over noodles or rice and have a meatless version of Beef Stroganoff. If using this recipe for a meal you might want to slice the mushrooms rather than chop them as I do below for the spread.

This is what you will need for about 10 people:

5 slices bacon

16 ounces of mushrooms

6 green onions, divided

1 good splash of dry Sherry

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon soy sauce

¼ cup sour cream

Here is what you do:

Dice the bacon and cook until crisp in a large skillet.

 While the bacon is crisping  and with a mushroom brush and a damp paper towel clean the mushrooms.

Remove the mushroom stems and chop the mushrooms as small as you can get them.

NOTE 1: If you prefer you can use a food processor. But don’t pulverize the mushrooms. Just get a nice rough chop. I do not use my processor very often because I am lazy and don’t like having to assemble and disassemble and clean all the pieces. Easier for me to chop them. Chopping is also a good way to get rid of stress. CHOP them suckers!!!!!!! There. Take that!!!!!! Whack! Whack!!! You can’t do that with a food processor.

NOTE 2: If the bacon gets crisp before you are finished chopping the mushrooms turn the heat off and remove the bacon. When the mushrroms are all chopped reheat the bacon fat,  then add the mushrooms and the bacon and continue on with the recipe.

When the bacon is crisp keep about 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease and save the rest for another use.

Add the diced mushrooms and mix into the bacon and cook about 4-6 minutes.

It looks like a lot but it will cook down a great deal.

While the mushrooms are cooking wash and slice the green onions and add only about two-thirds of them to the mushroom mixture. Reserve the rest of the green onions for garnish. In the second picture below you can see how much the mushrooms have cooked down.

While the mushroom mixture is sautéing, cut the cream cheese into small cubes. The only reason I do this is the cream cheese will melt faster this way. I am both a lazy and an impatient cook.

Add the cream cheese to the skillet. Add all of the remaining ingredients at this time too.

Stir and mix well until the mixture is smooth and is heated through.

NOTE 1: After cooling the mixture it can be refrigerated at this point and used the next day. In that case, add the garnish of green onions when you serve.

NOTE 2: If the spread is a bit runny, and it happens some times,  just add a tablespoon or two of cornstarch or flour. That should take care of the problem.

Pour the mixture into a bowl and top with the reserved green onions.

Serve warm with crackers or small pieces of toasted or untoasted bread. You can also use this as a dip for vegetables.

Bon appétit!!!

Cost

5 slices bacon                                    $1.20                          

16 ounces mushrooms                        $4.00*

6 green onions                                   $0.67

1 good splash Sherry                          $0.12

1 teaspoon Worcestershire                  $0.04 

1- 8 oz package cream cheese             $1.34

1 teaspoon soy sauce                          $0.06

¼  cup sour cream                             $0.48

* The latest victim of rising food costs.   

Total cost =$7.91
Cost per person = $0.81

Quote of the Day

Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.

Charles Schulz, Peanuts Creator

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