I do not remember how old I was exactly, I am guessing 8 or 9, when my Mother took me and my older cousin, Lynn, to a local store. The store called More Value was somewhat like Wal-Mart before they became huge. I remember the store being located back in the corner of this parking lot in my Grandma’s town. She lived in a small town where everyone knew everyone (believe it or not she actually did live out in the woods).
More Value at the time was the biggest store to do (non-grocery) shopping in.
This particular day my cousin, Mother and I all went there to see Santa Claus and for Mom to do more Christmas shopping. After we had hustled and bustled around the store for a while, we got our chance to see the Big Man.
I remember my cousin went first…knowing her probably pushed her way first…..but none-the-less she got up there and gave Santa her big ‘o list. It seemed like it took forever. Then it was my turn. I climbed up in Santa’s lap and nestled myself right there to let him hear my wish list too. Mom was standing by Santa and grinning from ear to ear as I continued my list. I remember that Santa’s eyes twinkled and his grin was so nice as he listened intently to me.
As, I got down from his lap, I heard my Mom say to Santa, “Thank you, Santa.”
In return, I heard Santa reply, “I will see you later, Sis.”
Could it be I heard right? Did Santa just call my Mom, sis? Nah, surely not!
After, we visited Santa, my Mother took my cousin and I back to Grandma’s house. My cousin and I took off into the living room to have a heart to heart discussion. She proceeds to tell me that she heard what Santa said to my Mom. I told her I did too but how could it be possible that Santa was actually our Uncle Jim! No way! After all Santa lives at the North Pole! Our Uncle Jim lived with my Grandma and this just could not be possible. Our conversation continued for a while and we eventually convinced ourselves that it could not have been our uncle. The truth is I was never really sure! However, it was the day I started to not be so naïve…at least when it came to the Santa thing.
Lynn and I never spoke about it to our parents or ever had a conversation about that incident until we were much older. Years later, I told my Uncle Jim about that day. I told him how Lynn and I figured out that he had been playing Santa. I told him my memories of that day. He told me, that he thought I would figure it out once I sat on his lap but was relieved when I did not. The funny thing is he never realized what he had said to my Mom.
More Value is now nothing more that a run down empty building on an old empty parking lot but every time I go by there, I remember the day I spoke with my Uncle, Santa Claus.