By MIKE WEST
Remember your last white Christmas?
In this neck of the woods, it's been a few years ago.
While, there is always a slight chance of snow on Christmas eve or Christmas day, it is pretty unlikely unless you live in Idaho, Minnesota, Maine, Upstate New York, the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Naturally, the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada Mountains all have a high probability of seeing a white Christmas.
The rarity of a White Christmas makes such an event even more memorable.
I remember such a Christmas Eve that happened more than a few years ago.
We were visiting Pa and Granny Van Hooser near Short Mountain and it started to snow. At that time, I was the only grandchild so my eyes were about to bug out of my head.
I "suffered" through the long, endless meal (it was delicious chicken and dressing by-the-way) before being relocated to the living room where a beautiful cedar tree stood under the stairway. It was a beautiful tree lit with red and green bubble lights (remember those?) and covered with foil icicles. Strings of popcorn and hand-painted, homemade ornaments decorated it.
I, of course, was under orders to sit in a chair AWAY from the tree and away from the warm fire that was blazing away in the fireplace. And I was instructed NEVER to get near the fireplace with any of the wonderful wrapping paper decorating our gifts.
So I was stuck impatiently waiting with the men folk. At least, they had great stories to tell. I wish I could remember more of them.
I was impatiently listening when I heard a tapping at the window.
Turning, I was shocked to see the face of Santa Claus looking back in the window.
I jumped out of my chair and turned around ... and Santa was gone.
Then there was a knock at the side door.
Running across the room, I pulled back the curtain and BANG ... there was Santa again.
In the blink of an eye, Santa disappeared once again.
"Did you see him ... Did you see him?" I roared.
Naturally, none of the adults in the room had seen a thing.
My Father, Grand Pa and Uncle John denied seeing anything. They just grinned and shrugged. Nope, didn't see ol' Claus. Even my own Mother hadn't seen him (and she would never tell a falsehood).
"No sir, no Santa ... my imagination must be running away from reality."
But I knew what I saw. It was a couple of quick looks, but I absolutely knew it was Santa Claus.
I looked around the room. Everyone was there ... except for Granny.
"Ah-ha," I thought as I dashed back to the kitchen only to discover Granny there drying dishes.
"What's your hurry?" she asked with a little grin on her face.
"Awwwww ... nothing," I answered before heading back to the living room which was warmed by laughter.
It was finally time for gifts!
I got more than my share, including one suspiously marked from Santa.
It was a red-striped flashlight. It was made from metal...and it actually worked! That was the first of many flashlights.
I wish I still had it.
By the way, the next Christmas that little trick with Santa Claus just didn't work.