Daddy and little brother always had a thing for old engines. These weren’t car engines, rather the hit and miss engines of use in the late 19th century and into the 30’s and 40’s. They predate the modern conveniences of push button start and fuel injection. There is no mistaking the glossy blur of the fly-wheel spinning, the deep pulsating, “Woosh woosh woosh woosh…Boom….Woosh woosh woosh woosh…Boom”, and smell of the combination of oil, fuel, and lubricant.
Five years older than my twin siblings, probably around 13, I had mostly given up the idea of Santa . At eight years old, they were just becoming fully invested in it. This one particular year Santa must have had a back woods search team on the ground. The old guy had located, refurbished, and delivered my little brother a rather large linear piece of engine part. I still don’t recall the exact name or function of the part, only how it appeared on Christmas morning.
I was the first one awake. I tiptoed out of my bedroom and to the top of the stairs, scanning the haul. Newspaper wrapped boxes with yarn bows. Brown paper bags rolled down and tied w/ twine. To the right of the Christmas tree, laying on Momma’s hardwood floors, was a sheet. The sheet was white with small flowers, and draped over something large and long. One end was rather round, then another roundish part in the middle, and the other end stuck up just like feet. Clearly someone was trying to hide Santa’s body. My somewhat morbid adolescent self immediately woke up the rest of the family, screaming, “Oh no!! Santa’s DEAD!!”
My sister and brother come busting out of their bedrooms. “What?”
I reply, “Yeah, just look. He’s there by the tree. Dead.”
Okay, so yes, I was a rascal of a teen. My siblings’ tears were quickly abated when the parents arrived, and pointed out that there was a name tag on Santa’s ‘toe’, To: Little Brother From Santa. They explained that there probably wasn’t enough gift wrap in the north pole to wrap such a gift. For it’s initially rough start, the holiday ended well. All were happy, healthy, and together…just as it should be.
We still give Momma and Daddy a hard time about the night they killed Santa.