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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Real Santa Chapter 39 (12 Days Until Xmas)

Mrs. Worthington look at the television again. George was looking

for Mary at the library. She is better off without him. Imagine

running through town like that! Men. Mrs. Worthington turned back

to her novel and heard her husband chortle. She looked up.

“What are you reading, dear?”

Walter, a big man in his slippers, held up the green and red book.

“’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

Mr. Worthington looked over her glasses.

“Why on earth are you reading that?”

“I read it every year on Christmas Eve.”

The teacher dropped her book and stared at her husband.

“You do not!”

“I do. But if you don’t want to believe me, that’s fine.”

“I don’t see why you would read a children’s poem even once,”

she grumbled.

“I enjoy it.”

“It is for children, Walter!”

He looked at his wife.

“On Christmas Eve we are all children, Barbara.”

“Oh, don’t be ridiculous.”

Walter shrugged again. “Suit yourself. Some of us still believe.”

That one cut her. Mrs. Worthington carefully marked the page

of her novel and saw that George was now in his old house looking

for his wife and children. She could have told him that it was all in

vain. The man had thrown away a perfectly good life with both hands.

Ms. Worthington gripped her armchair.

“What do you mean by that, Walter?”

He looked over his glasses.

“I mean, I still believe in the magic of Christmas.”

“I suppose next you will tell me you still believe in Santa Claus.”

“I might.”

Mrs. Worthington jumped up.

“I have had it with all this foolishness. You are as crazy as that

Kronenfeldt man who is going to prove there is a Santa Claus by

flying a sled onto his roof!”

Walter put down his book and frowned. “I heard about him. I

heard he had hired a whole movie crew to pull it off, and he was going

to do it tonight. I wonder if he really is going to fly a sled onto his roof.”

“How should I know? He has been warned by the principal and

many parents not to try anything that would disappoint the children.”

Walter looked at his wife.

“I don’t see why it’s the principal’s business what he does for his


“Of course it is the principal’s business and mine! If he disappoints

hundreds of children after promising Santa Claus will come and his

daughter promised to put it on the Internet, then it most certainly

is my business!”

“Bah humbug, huh, Barbara?”

Mrs. Worthington put her hand on the mantel and saw that

George had stumbled back to the bridge.

“What do you mean by that?”

Her husband looked up at her.

“I mean that for forty years you have been knocking the stuffing

out of Santa Claus because that strict old German bastard knocked

the magic out of his daughter.”

“My father was a very logical man who didn’t believe in fairytales.

I appreciate that he told me early on how the world was.”

Walter sighed. “He told you his view of the world, Barbara, not

the way the world is. He didn’t know what it was like. All he knew

was how to work from sunup to sundown in his fields and sell eggs

off his back porch.”

“I resent that Walter—”

Her husband sat up, his eyes flashing uncharacteristically.

“And I resent that you have imposed your beliefs on hundreds of

children who do believe in Santa Claus. What the hell is the harm in

believing there is something better than this life?”

Mrs. Worthington was sure the world had gone crazy. Her husband

never talked to her like this. He never crossed her; he usually

acquiesced to her demands with the same placid demeanor he had

when they married.

She raised her eyebrows.

“You are angry, Walter.”

He paused then nodded. “Yeah, I guess I am. You try and stop

a father from giving his daughter the gift of childhood. I guess that

does piss me off.”

Piss him off. Mrs. Worthington felt like he had sworn at her.

“I will not tolerate this kind of talk!”

“What … are you going to give me a time-out? I’m not one of

your students, Barbara.”

“You deserve a time-out with that kind of talk,” she declared

Walter shrugged and stood up, walking into the front hall. He

took out his coat and slipped into his boots.

“Where are you going?”

Walter popped on the hat with the large earflaps she hated because

it made him look like a farmer.

“I think I’d like to see Santa Claus. I think I’m going to go see if

that guy can give his daughter something to believe in.”

“Don’t be ridiculous! You stay right here! Going out in the cold

on Christmas Eve. You are as crazy as this man George,” she declared,

gesturing to the television.

Walter opened the door and turned back to his wife.

“I’m eighty-five years old, Barbara. Maybe I need to believe in

something again.” He looked at the television where George was

running through Bedford Falls. “Go, George, go!”

And with that he walked out the door. Mrs. Worthington stared

at the door then turned to the television where George had been

reunited with his family. Zuzu was telling her father that every time

a bell rings an angel gets his wings. Mrs. Worthington collapsed in

her chair, staring at the happy family in disbelief.

Real Santa Holiday Special



Books by William Hazelgrove