I was mistaken for Santa Claus last week. Shopping for a particular cold remedy. I was looking at a lower shelf in the pharmacy section of my grocery store last when a lady bent down to move into my vision, smiled and did one of those little-girl waves waggling all her fingers at once and said, “Hey, Santa.” Possibly, I looked confused for a moment. I do have mostly white hair and a white beard. My belly certainly is large enough and could be described as round. And I have been told I have a twinkle in my eye. But still, I’m not used to being called Santa.
It’s been 101 days since Ed Tarvin, my best friend since the ninth grade, died during emergency heart surgery in Fayetteville, Ark.
He felt something because he texted me about 2:30 a.m. to ask if I was up. I returned the text about 45 minutes later, and he responded within two minutes. It was another text, urging me, “don’t panic. being transported to wash regional hospital er. heart attack check think not. just being careful. will keep you informed.”
When was the last time you received a letter? When was the last time you wrote one? My grandmother, Myrtis Virginia Hamilton Moore (yes, she’s been mentioned here often), likely was the last person with whom I regularly exchanged letters. She died in 1994. She also was the first person I remember complaining about receiving a letter from me that I had typed instead of written by hand.
This is the 20th Christmas Eve since the passing in August 1994 of my maternal grandmother, Myrtis Virginia Hamilton Moore, whom I called Mammaw. Still, it is her I think of each Dec. 24, especially after everyone else in the house has gone to bed.
I’m not sure when it began, but sometime after I moved away from home, I started calling Mammaw late on Christmas Eve. It seems like it was before I had children, but I can’t be sure.
When I was 7 or 8, our family acquired one of those now-parodied aluminum Christmas trees, complete with color wheel.
I’d lie for an hour or more on the hardwood floor of our living room with the only light the revolving red, blue, green or yellow thrown on the metallic branches from the segmented plastic screen of the light wheel. Chances are that Elvis Presley’s Christmas album or a holiday collection by the Lennon Sisters was playing on the stereo console at the back of the room.
Seeing the rash of photos posted on Facebook and other places online brings back a slew of memories and makes me realize — surprisingly so, to some degree — that I miss the days of my children getting dressed up in costume to go out to gather candy from neighbors and friends.
By the time Patrick, Molly and Megan came along, the days of letting kids loose at your front door and telling them to hit the street with their costumes and candy bags had disappeared. The period of being fearful of someone placing razor blades or needles in candy had passed, for the most part, because it actually happened only a handful of times over the years, but that didn’t keep the legends from growing and urban myths from being created.