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Scared the Dickens Out of Me

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

He ‘came upon the midnight clear’ roaring, “Ho, Ho, Ho.”

“Who the dickens are you?” I asked, rising from my bed.

“I’m the Ghost of Santa Claus Past. You better not pout, and you better not shout. Don’t you remember me?” asked the round man. “Step into my sleigh, and I will take you back to a Christmas long ago.”

“‘What child is this’ sitting on your lap?” I asked. 

“Why, that is you. Don’t you remember? You gave me water on the knee when you were but a child,” he said.

I replied, “Was I a good little boy?”

“Not really. You were like the rest. All you wanted for Christmas was a shopping list of toys. To celebrate the birth of the ‘Prince of Peace,’ you wanted a G.I. Joe and a Roy Rogers gun so you could shoot your sister. You were really disappointed when you woke and found a single orange and a red rubber ball in your stocking hung with care,” said Santa.

“I remember now Santa. I told you to remember to bring the batteries along with the toys next time. I think it was about then I stopped believing in you,” I said.

Suddenly I woke from my dream, when I heard a noise ‘up on the roof top.’ The ghost had disappeared just as he had arrived. I got out of bed and checked the halls decked with boughs of holly. There was nobody else around. I figured maybe I had too much eggnog. Sleep would not come on this Christmas Eve.

But then he appeared again. Only this time it was a much older Santa Claus who visited me in my dream. 

“You don’t look so good Santa,” I said.

“I am the Ghost of Christmas Present, and as you know, it hasn’t been a very good year,” he responded.

I crawled up in Santa’s sleigh once again, and we traveled in search of a Christmas present. 

“Hey, that’s me and my wife. But why is my wife crying?” I asked.

“Because last year you promised you wouldn’t buy anything for each other for Christmas, and like a scrooge, you kept your word,” he said.

“I know, and my wife hasn’t said a word to me ever since. But I gave her a little present this year,” I said.

“You gave her money,” said Santa sternly.

I responded with, “But money is always the right size.”

“Is money all you think about? Sending out Christmas cards with business reply envelopes was really tacky,” said Santa.

“Yes, but Santa, you said yourself it was a tough year,” I said. But, the Ghost of Santa Present did not hear the reply. Instead, another Santa had taken his place. The Ghost of Santa Claus Future creaked along, weighted down with chains.

“Why do you look so sad Santa?” I asked.

Santa Claus Future squinted at the houses trimmed in lights and said, “Because people have forgotten the real meaning of Christmas. They don’t know if they are celebrating the birth of Jesus or of General Electric.”

“But Santa, why are you draped in chains?” I inquired.

“The Internal Revenue Service put me in jail for writing off the gifts I gave last year. The little children don’t believe in me anymore, and people don’t realize the best presents are the kind you can’t wrap,” said Santa.

“I still believe in you Santa, you have made a believer out of me,” I said. But Santa was not there to hear. He had disappeared. Not up the chimney but through a hole in the heart.

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