A couple of days ago I was considering a nap but I started thinking about Christmases of yore.
My family (Mom, Dad, sister Kathy and myself) always went to my mom’s parents’ house for Christmas Eve. Every time I drive south from the Fountain Square area down Shelby Street I think about those visits.
On Christmas afternoon we drove around to visit my dad’s family. I remember that one of my uncles was always proud of the new underwear that he had received. Sometimes he also got some socks.
We lived on Madison Avenue at that time, and I recall getting my first bicycle from Santa. Since Madison was a two-lane state highway at that time and there were no bike lanes, I was restricted to riding my bicycle in our driveway. It was really cool when I could go through neighbors’ backyards to get to ride on Morgan Drive.
My newspaper routes were nice to have around Christmas. I always had a small gift for my customers, and I was always treated to some nice gifts from them. Sometimes the saddlebags on my bicycle was packed full of boxes of Cherry Cordials.
When my father owned his service station, Christmas was the only day that we were not open.
During the years that we had our auto repair business and the fleet of school buses in the building (now Long’s Bakery) in Southport, we always had a Christmas party for our bus drivers.
I spent a few Christmases in Southern California when I was single. Those holidays were spent with my co-workers’ families. One year I was invited to three or four homes.
A few years later I returned to Indianapolis, got married and had a son. Those Christmases were so special. We would have an Indianapolis Christmas with family here and then go to Ohio and spend some time at my wife’s parents.
When we moved to Michigan things got a bit more complicated. I always liked driving the Michigan-to-Indiana-to-Ohio-and-back-to- Michigan triangle, which became a 10-year tradition.
After returning to Indianapolis I started a small business on Main Street in Greenwood. It was special to begin making new friends and reconnecting with friends from earlier times.
A wonderful lady who I met at my office surprised me one day by giving me a Santa Claus suit. It had been handmade by her mother for her father. I felt so honored and thought about them each time I wore that suit at Christmas parties.
I wore the suit to my daughter’s house and waved at my grandsons from the sidewalk because I didn’t want them to recognize my eyes or voice.
A couple of years ago I contacted the daughter of the woman who gave me the suit. I told her that my time to be Santa had expired and I would love to put that suit back into its original family.
My wife, Lyn, Stuart, our therapy dog, and I hope you have a special and memorable Christmas.