The Christmas Goose by AL Williams
At this time of year we wait for the look of childrens expressions and anticipation of Christmas season. My memories of Christmas time as a child was gentle hums of songs. The smell of baked cookies and candy. Getting boxes of tangled lights out of storage and sitting for hours untangling them. The men going out to the woods to get holly and mistletoe. Looking to see what Christmas TV shows would be on. Told to write my Christmas list to Santa where there was never enough paper to complete it. Asking questions and getting stories of Christmas traditions.
Now as a father myself, I watch my childrens eyes brighten and they ask me the same questions that I had asked. The only difference, I start a new family tradition..
My son sprang into my lap unannounced. After a grunt and a few deep breaths to get my composure and voice back, I asked What is it buddy?
My son looked me in the eyes and asked, Daddy, my letter goes to Santa right?
Yes buddy. I replied wondering where this line of questioning was going. "Why?
Well, he took a breath to construct his question, how does Santa get Christmas list from kids that dont have a mail box and no pony express?
We just watched a western of the Pony Express and he was told that this was the start of the post office. Just another reason to be careful on what you tell your children because they do listen. I saw where this was going and thought a minute before answering. I looked out the window and saw a squirrel eating a nut on a stump only stopping to hear geese calling after they flew over head. I looked back at him. He was smiling and waited patiently for an answer. I positioned him and said.......
Before the post office or places back in areas where no one can send mail, Santa had his own post office system. Children would write their list on what ever they had. They would take their list and go to a place in the woods. There on a stump, they would place their list and a handful of nuts. The Christmas squirrels gather the letters for the nuts that are left there. They take the letters to a secret place and there they meet the Christmas Goose. A chunky ole goose that has the deepest voice you have ever heard. He wears a red scarf around his neck that Santa himself gave him. He has two leather pouches that goes around his neck and back The Christmas Goose collects the letters from the squirrels and gives candy and/or a prize. The squirrels bring them back to the stump or log where the letters where placed and puts the candy there. The Christmas Goose takes the letters and puts them in the small leather pouches and heads off to the North Pole to deliver them to Santa. The next morning the children would go to the stump and there would be Christmas candy instead of a letter. And that is how kids a long time ago sent their Christmas list to Santa.
My son stared at me for a minute to see if I was smiling. A sure thing to say dads lying. Tight lipped I stared back holding in all expression. I was trying to hold back laughter from watching his face go from smiling to puzzlement, back to smiling again over and over.
I finally asked in a straight face Should we go to the post office to mail your list or use the old way and see if the Christmas Goose is still around?
Off my lap he went into the kitchen and to the hutch. I heard the drawers squeak with the yank he gave them. The drawer contents rustled as he franticly searched through them. A chair leg scraped as it was scooted across the floor. A flop of a writing tablet and a larger flop of a catalogue as the landed on the table. All was quiet for a minute the a small voice was heard saying slowly Dear Santa. A warm smile came over me as I heard him talk as he wrote and turn pages after pages.
After a while, here he came running in began jumping around. I am ready for the Christmas Goose daddy! he yelled waving the letter.
Opening a can of mixed nuts he grabbed a handful and outside we went to the back yard. Next to a stump he placed the letter with the nuts on top. He stared at the stump as if it should immediately should happen. We have to wait now, buddy. shivering in the cold. Inside, to the den window he went. I told him wait until morning.
The next morning awoke me yelling, Daddy, I see something out there! Get up! Get up! I took my time getting dressed while I watched him bouncing around, anxious for us to go.
Out side we went to the stump. It snowed that night and he ask about the footprints in the snow. I scratched my head and said, I put more nuts out last night incase there wasnt enough for the Christmas Squirrel.
At the stump there was candy and a small toy. The nuts were gone as was the letter. Filling his little arms with goodies he said, He came daddy, my list and the nuts are gone and look what the goose gave me.
Little arms full, we walked back to the house. As we did, a call of a goose could be heard. We looked up and saw one lonesome goose flying. Icing on the cake I thought. My son looked up as we walked and said, Daddy, that must be the Christmas Goose.
You think so. I replied.
Yep, I seen the scarf. he said as he walked off.
Even I had to look twice on that one. From there on, every year, the letters to Santa was delivered by way of the Christmas Goose. Our friends, family and neighbors sent there list to the Christmas Goose also. Thus, a new family tradition.
Merry Christmas to every one.
This story is dedicated to my grandparents.