BY CRAIG WENZEL - TRUE DAKOTAN EDITOR
I got my wish for Christmas this year… well, nearly everything I asked for.
When Santa appeared around town a couple of times before Christmas — first to distribute goodies and pose for pictures with area kids at city hall, then again at the Humm Dinger 2 open house grand opening, and once again at the Weskota Manor Avera residents’ Christmas party– I took full advantage of the situation to give Santa my list of things I wanted most this year.
“You’re on the naughty list, Craig,” I was told once. But that’s not all bad, at least Santa remembered my name.
So with only a day or two to change my ways, I tried to be more helpful at the True Dakotan, more attentive at home. I cleaned up my language a bit (a guy can do ANYTHING for two days before Christmas!) and I turned in my Christmas list.
“I’d like warm slippers, Santa,” I said to the the one that resembled Scott Vaske. “Maybe a train set,” was my request for Santa number two, who was a ringer for Dave Grieve. “And, if you’ve got an extra, I’d like a B.B. gun.”
“You’ll shoot your eye out kid,” I was told by the Santa that looked like Bryon Hinrichs.
“Darn, this looks bad,” I told Penny on the day before Christmas eve, still trying to improve my image in the Jolly old Elf’s eyes.
Christmas Day came, the family arrived for a coveted annual gathering that included turkey, ham, conversation and, you guessed it, gifts.
Santa had heard my request for warm slippers and the Korrie and Cheryl family obliged with a pair that I’m wearing right now.
I distinctly recall when Santa brought my first train set –I wonder where that ended up?– back in the 1950’s. My buddy Joel Sorben still has his boyhood train locomotive, but mine has long-since disappeared. Never fear, a large package arrived on my lap from beneath the Christmas tree. Santa had heard my wish and I opened something that was even BETTER than the train set I’d asked for…. a model airplane that FLIES!! Now that’s an update from the toy trainset from the 1950’s.
After watching my favorite holiday movie, “A Christmas Story” once again this year, I really didn’t expect Santa to bring me the B.B. gun, and that’s okay. He’s probably right, as I recalled the line, “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!” I’ll be able to pick up something along that line with the gift card that I opened that day.
As the really great gifts piled up beside me, my eyes gazed around the room where our eight family members — Matt and Amber, Londyn and Layne, Korrie and Cheryl, Mason and Parker– were seated. I began thinking about the true meaning of Christmas: family, faith, forgiveness.
Twenty-month old Londyn twirled happily in the living room in a pink Dora the Explorer dress. Four year old Layne had a pair of black eyes –he turned too quickly and hit his eye on a kitchen countertop, followed by an errant run into a rope on the sledding hill that left the other eyelid swollen and bleeding (I’’m gonna’ have another black eye” he announced with tearless certainty.) Mason and Parker, ages 15 and 12, well-behaved young gentlemen were quietly watching the little children open present as they awaited their chronological turn. A Christmas night phone call from our daughter Kim, who lives on the west coast, and YouTube videos of great grand daughters Maddison and McKenna, completed the day. If there hadn’t been one gift to be opened that day, my Christmas would still have been perfect.
All except for the last item on Santa’s list. “I wish I could help you on that one,” Santa number two sadly told me the day after the Humm Dinger 2 open house, just a few hours before he began his annual trip around the world.
You see, the one thing on my list that has not arrived is world peace.
I don’t mean to sound like a Miss American contestant, but world peace would be the ultimate Christmas gift. No more sending young men and women off to war. No more worries about terrorism, kidnappers, Internet predators… just world peace.
From our house to your house, Penny send you our version of world peace by wishing you a Happy New Year with peace in your heart.