Untotaled: Stepping 31 (December 18th, 1966) One Last Time … September 13, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2351)

(Transcript)

My home was just two blocks from school, so when the bell rang, dismissing classes for the holidays, I hung around. I was in no hurry to make the trek to my house.

It was my birthday and I was vexed by a bit of melancholy.

Maybe it was the reality of turning fifteen and still not loved by any girl, and kind of shoveled to the side by a family that had more pressing concerns.

I borrowed a basketball from the boys locker room and shot some hoops. I was temporarily invigorated by the fact that I set a new personal record for free throws–eight in a row.

When the janitor came into the gymnasium, he frowned. I realized he was going to ask me to leave, so I redeposited the ball back into the slot where it belonged, grabbed my books and headed towards my abode.

Darkness was already beginning to fall on the little central Ohio community. Clouds were clumped in the sky like folded dirty towels, haphazardly stacked on the shelf, precariously threatening to tumble on the floor in the linen closet.

It was gonna snow.

It didn’t take me long to get home, although I shuffled my feet most of the way. I had never seen that little stretch of road so vacant. Everyone had settled inside, lit their fires and were preparing to endure the forecasted six inches of the white stuff.

Strangely enough, when I got home there was no one there. The house was warm, dark and certainly well-suited to my threatening depression. I left the lights off and turned on our old television set.

There was Clara Jo’s Toy Shop. I never watched it–too “baby,” too silly, too girly, too stupid. But today I was in no mood to rise from my chair, turn the dial and find something else.

All at once, she introduced Santa Claus, to come out and talk to the kids. It was like a lightbulb went off in my head, and I realized, “Oh, yeah. It’s Christmas time.”

I cried.

I don’t know exactly why–but as I watched the man on TV pretending to be the saint from the North Pole, I suddenly wanted to believe again.

After all these years of growing up, knowing that the tales spoken of the northern elf were probably not true, I desired him in my life.

I was so lonely. I tried to play the piano, but each song just made me weep. Then I fell silent–so still that I could hear the howling wind foretelling the coming storm. The window panes in the dining room were already fogging over, promising frost.

With some tears in my eyes, I spoke out loud to the television set. “Santa Claus, all I want for Christmas is to still believe in Santa Claus.”

I cried again.

For a minute, it looked like I was going to be inconsolable. Then suddenly, it just stopped. I sniffed and peered at the television set.

I thought to myself that the family would soon be here. I was frightened that they had all forgotten it was my birthday. I didn’t think I had the heart to endure it.

Suddenly Clara Jo began to sing, in her off-key alto pitch, “Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus…”

I allowed my mind to wander to Christmases years before. It was December 18th, 1966 and I was fifteen.

And as a chill went down my spine, I thought to myself, “There goes Santa Claus.”

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