This morning I was listening to Dick Cavett read Jean Shepherd‘s Duel in the Snow, or Red Ryder nails the Cleveland Street Kid (which was the basis for the movie A Christmas Story). That was enough to start the nostalgia train down the track.
Christmas when I was a kid revolved around electric trains that belched real smoke, cap pistols, the A. G. Gilbert No. 1 Chemistry Set, books (always books!) and oranges and nuts by the bag full. But for me the holy grail of Christmas presents, the thing at the top of my Christmas letter to Santa Claus was a REAL Batman Suit. The one on page 325 of the Sears catalog. The real suit with the real cowl, not some cheap plastic Halloween mask.
I dropped a steady stream of hints between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve and hoped beyond hope that Santa would be able to find one for me in his massive North Pole warehouse. I also knew there was very little money for that kind of thing, so I also reminded myself just going to sleep that whatever he brought would be OK.
So I was more than a little shocked when I woke up, ran down the hall and around the corner, and saw it in all it’s Bat Glory. A REAL Batman Suit. Just like the one on page 325. There were also books, fruit, nuts, coloring books (I still love them), and a wrapped package or two. But IT was there.
I wore it to my grandparents’ house that morning and I am convinced if I still had it, it would be framed and hanging in my office. But not for the reason you think. Oh sure, I’m still a Batman fan … but I am a bigger fan of the elves who made the suit.
What i didn’t know until years later is that my mother and my grandmother found a pattern, bought the material, and sewed that Batman suit in spare moments between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. All so a little boy would not be disappointed on Christmas day.
We didn’t have much money. But we had a house full of love.
And that’s what I wish for you this Christmas: a house full of love. And the blessing of the child born in Bethlehem so many years ago.