When I was little, my mom used to tell me that Santa Claus was looking in the window to see if we were being good. She said that he if we weren’t good, that we would be getting coal in our stockings. So, naturally, I took my stocking down and hid it.
“Vickie, where is your stocking?………..The one on the fireplace for Santa?…………………No, it isn’t there……………You know it isn’t there. Where did you put it?………………………Why in the world would you put it down the clothes chute?………..Vickie, it isn’t dirty.”
Hell, I didn’t want coal in my stocking. My mom tried to explain that Santa didn’t like to leave empty stockings and he wanted children to know that he had been there, so he decided to leave coal in the bad kid’s stockings. Why coal? I mean, it was bad enough that Santa left me Band-aids and socks in my stockings. Oh, he left other items, such as Vicks Vapor Rub, tweezers, and an orange ,too. You know, the things all kids get in their stocking at Christmas.
”Vickie, are you the one closing all of the curtains in the whole house?……………….Why?………………………Vickie, it is not getting dark, it is 2:00 in the afternoon………………..Vickie, Santa needs to see if you have been bad or good………He looks through the window all year round.” Uh Oh. I was so screwed.
Well, later on that week, when my mom was downstairs washing clothes or sewing or something, smoking her Salem cigarettes and happy we were upstairs, I thought I heard a knock at the door. But , we were watching tv and my sister,Cheryl, was lying in the corner, having one of her famous temper tantrums. My dad was oblivious to it all, smoking his pipe, and reading the newspaper. It was dark and almost time for our baths.
I just happened to walk into the kitchen and saw a man looking through the kitchen door window. He had his hands cupped on each side of his eyes, peering into the kitchen, looking right at me. I froze. Dear God, it was Santa!
I screamed. Bloody murder. I couldn’t move, but I still remember that scream. It was one of those screams you heard women vocalize when a monster was coming at them in any of those 1950′s “B” movies. My dad came running in, pipe in mouth. Santa was gone.
Well, no one believed me at first. I told them Santa was looking through the window at me. Cheryl started screaming, taking it up a notch from her demented temper tantrum. All because my mom wouldn’t give her Puffa Puffa Rice to eat. I decided to run to my bedroom. The windows were too high for Santa to watch me. As I went through the living room, Santa was a the front door window, looking at me. I screamed again. I tripped over the dog as I ran down the hall to my bedroom. I almost hit the corner of the fireplace mantel as I tripped. Santa was trying to get me. And my little dog, too.
I locked my bedroom door, not realizing that my sister lived in there too, and she was also running from Santa . She was carrying the dog, who may or may not have been unconscious. Not really, but you know. After begging me to let her in, I unlocked the door and we hid in the closet. We were in there for about 2 hours, or 1 minute, before my mom started knocking on the door. “Vickie, Cheryl? What is going on in there? I could hear you from downstairs.” Well, she should have heard us. The clothes chute was in our bedroom closet. Where we were hiding from Santa.
Well, she made us go back into the living room, despite my protests. Santa was trying to kill me. He pushed me down. The dog knew I was lying, but her barks were going unanswered. We walked into the living room and some guy was standing by the front door. Hey, I knew that face.
It was Jimmy, my dad’s friend. He looked at me. “Sorry I scared you, Vickie. I knocked, but no one heard me, so I went around to the kitchen door. And then back to the front.”
I just looked at my mom. This was all her fault. If she didn’t tell me about Santa watching through the window every day, all year long, waiting for me to screw up, I would have known that face belonged to my Dad’s friend. Maybe. I was pretty scared.
I don’t know why parents use the “Santa’s looking in the window” routine. Maybe a letter arriving from the North Pole stating that he knows of my misbehavior would have been better for my poor little lungs. Dogs were howling in the background.
I never did receive a lump of coal in my stocking. Just an orange….and tweezers…..and socks….and Vicks Vapor Rub