Glenn Madden


  Personal Stuff



Christmas Mornings

There is no better time I can remember than the days when I got up on a snowy Christmas morning to find our Christmas tree stocked with loads of presents in shiny paper and ribbons. There was a sort of special magic to Christmas. The excitement would start to fill the air at least a week before. As a boy of four years old I never had considered that there might not be a Santa Clause.

It was one of those cold December mornings about a week before Christmas when you do not want to get out of bed. Everything just felt so warm and perfect wrapped in my big thick blanket. I lay there in the bed thinking about nothing much at all. I was staring at the ceiling. My eyes began to explore the dark opening leading to the attic of our old wooden home. I noticed what looked like a new bicycle sitting up there. Being from a poor family you do not often see shiny new things in the attic, never. I finally crawled out of bed. I told my mom what I thought I had seen. She did not say much and after that I got distracted with playing some game or exploring the rest of the day. Later that day I came back and remembered the bicycle. I climbed up into the attic but there was no bicycle to be found. I asked my mom what happened to it, but she quickly dismissed it as my imagination playing tricks on me.

With the magic of Christmas upon us I had quickly forgotten the bicycle. Christmas eve had finally arrived and I remember my mom pouring out a glass of milk and leaving some cookies for Santa Clause. Christmas was always so exciting. It was difficult to sleep the night before because I was thinking of ways to catch the old Santa man. Somehow sleep finally came. I awoke early in the morning before the sun had arisen. The blood was flowing and the heart racing made Christmas mornings the warmest day of the year. I got up and ran to the Christmas tree early before my mom and dad woke up to see what Santa Clause had left. There under the tree was the bicycle that I remembered seeing a few days before sitting in the attic half obscured from view. I knew right then without a doubt that my mom and dad had lied to me about Santa Clause. It had always seemed a little unbelievable anyway. Some old man that lived forever riding around all over the world delivering presents to children in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer. I told my mom that I knew there was no such thing as Santa Clause. She wanted to know who told me such an outrageous story. I tried to explain to her that it was the bicycle. She stuck to the story of Santa Clause and swore he was real. She accused Richard, an older cousin of mine that lived close by of telling me that lie. It was then that I awoke to the fact my parents were not perfect. I never believed anymore in Santa Clause.

It did not matter so much to me anyway at that time how the bicycle got there. The bicycle would be all mine since my younger brother was still too small to ride it. I was going to have some fun. My dad helped me with the bicycle and took it outside. I tried riding it in the yard but could not get going properly. My dad took me to the hill trail behind the house that led down through the woods to the outhouse. He helped me onto the bicycle and let me go. He did not give me any instructions at all. I had trusted my dad blindly knowing that he knew what he was doing. As I plummeted down the hill at an outrageous speed, I am sure I started screaming but there was no help. My dad had forgotten to tell me that the bicycle had brakes. It was all I could do to keep the bicycle on the rocky path. I was doing OK with this when I saw that the path turned just beside the outhouse. There was no stopping as I ploughed into the outhouse at full speed. I was somewhat shaken as I lay in a heap at the base of the door in some briars. After realizing I was OK my thoughts returned to my new bicycle. I had only put a few scratches on it and my dad straightened the handlebars. He then explained to me how the brakes work with a laugh. I rode the bike after that on level land for a long time with the training wheels to keep it from turning over.


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