Georgia, USA
December 29
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DECEMBER 15, 2008 7:19AM

HONK for Santa!

Rate: 62 Flag

December 1996. It was the second Friday. Sweet Husband had been out of work for eighteen long months. I sat at the dining room table sorting through a pile of bills. Fifteen hundred dollars short. The checking account amounted to about thirty five.

I could feed the six of us for the weekend. And then what? Christmas was out of the question. Depression hung over the house. Dark and dreary. We had not decorated. No lights. No tree. No frivolous cookies baked. I was willing Christmas not to come. How would I explain to my children that this year Santa would fly by our house but not stop?

Sweet Husband sat in front of the television. Mindlessly clicking channel to channel. “Dad, are we putting up the lights this weekend?” “Are we getting a tree tomorrow Daddy?” The kids were home from school. Should I tell them now? No. I just couldn’t.

Dear God, I prayed over the pile of invoices. Help. Please.

I drifted. In and out. Tears. Panic. I felt helpless. Please. Please.

Friday afternoon traffic built up on front of the house. Our road is the only way through the national park. Commuters, shoppers, and truck drivers for the county all have to pass us on their way home. Friday evenings are the worse.

“Hon, you need to see this.” Sweet Husband came to me and took my hand. “It’s a good thing.” I was never sure back then. So many things, one after another. A broken washing machine. A flat tire. I had become accustomed, over the months, always waiting for the next shoe to fall.

He led me out front to the porch. At the top of our long drive stood a tiny Santa! Fat, red and jolly. Next to him, holding a cardboard sign that read HONK FOR SANTA stood his helper. My youngest son, seven, and his sister, eight, had found the old Santa suit in the boxes labeled “Xmas”. Our boy, dressed in the baggy red suit, complete with pillow tummy, cap, and white beard, was dancing and waving to the cars and trucks. HO HO HO! Merry Christmas! He shouted to the drivers. Merry Christmas! Sister raised her sign. HONK HONK! HONK HONK! Came the replies.

Glazed, hypnotic faces, dulled by driving, brightened! People laughed, waved, and smiled. And honked for Santa! The giant county truck drivers BAWAHHHED their big air horns when Santa pumped his little fist in the air!

Sweet Husband and I sat on the front steps and laughed. Really laughed. For the first time in months. The older two kids appeared and sat with us delighted. And then it happened.

We could hear them coming. BAWAHHHHH BAWAHHHHH! Miles down the road. The truck drivers were on their radios! They roared past, one after another, laying on their horns. All for Santa! Everyone, everyone laughing and honking! Horns blaring up and down the road in both directions.

Afternoon turned into evening and finally dark. We trooped into the house. Cold, excited, and happy. The weekend was spent hanging the lights, decorating the house. What the hell, right? It didn’t cost us a penny to brighten up the place. When we hung the stockings on the mantle I said another small prayer. I told the kids that maybe next weekend we could get a tree. Maybe.

Monday morning I sat again at the table. We hadn’t paid the mortgage. Or the credit cards. Or anything. We were flat broke. Busted. With out hope. I was working from home but my business was seasonal and Christmas was not one of the seasons. What could we sell to make ends meet?

I was still in my pajamas when the doorbell rang. I thought about hiding. Not answering. I peeked through the blinds and saw a glimpse of red. What the hell?

When I opened the door I was shocked to see a six foot Santa. A beautiful Santa. Like the one at the mall. Real beard and everything.

“I hear you’ve been a very good girl this year.” What? “I have a present for you.” He reached in to his black velvet bag and handed me an envelope. “Merry Christmas, Gracie Lou. From some folks who love you.” I watched stunned as Santa climbed into his red Ford pickup and backed out of the drive.

What? What? I opened the envelope. A beautiful card, unsigned. And two thousand dollars in cash. Two thousand dollars. In hundreds.


This is why, my dear OS friends, that I, Sweet Husband, and the kids all still believe in Santa Claus. And miracles.

Merry Christmas to you all! May God bring you happiness, health, and love.


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Thanks jane! The feelings are mutual. Hope your holidays are filled with the true spirit of Christmas. Kiss that boy for me!
That is a beautiful story -- I'm typing through tears. It's amazing how sweet and kind people are capable of being -- especially when you really need it. I'm glad you still believe in Santa, and I'm so glad you shared this story. Merry Christmas! And I love that your kids have so much spirit -- I'd love to see a pic of them outside with the Santa suit and the sign.
Nice work. You, the kids, and Santa.
You make me cry more often than anyone I know. rated
I am dripping tears on the laptop, my friend. So breautiful a post at a time when people have soo little. I want to 'honk' for Santa too!!
gracielou…. As tears stream down my cheeks, all I can say is, “Our prayers are answered in the most unusual ways.” May we never forget that there is a higher power watching over us?

Wishing you & your loving family a most Happy, Healthy and Wonderful Christmas.
Happy holidays to you and yours, gracielou.

There is nothing like a little miracle, is there? :-D

Elvishly thumbed.
Thanks a lot for this.

Did you ever get to know the Santa though?
Wonderful! Hooray for Christmas miracles! This post was like a gift. Thank you so much for it.

Wishing a delightful holiday to you and your family.
Amy, Steph, Nora, boomer, suzy (my pal), Bill, gm, and Moana: Thanks for all the fun you have given me these past couple of months in OS. Here's hoping you all experience joy.

Moana: No. We never did discover who sent the money. Santa was obviously a pro. The donor? No one ever came forward. And I asked everyone I knew if it was them.

The new year brought jobs for both Sweet Husband and I. We were able, once more, to open our home to fosters. We climbed our way out of our financial hole. And every Christmas since we have donated anonymously to a family in need.
That is beautiful and what everyone said -- you can write. I am glad Santa found you;0)
Fighting back the tears on this one Gracielou, Now what box did I put that Santa suit in.........
I'm glad he found you when you needed him most. Rated.
Lisa, Dorinda, Michael, and cartouche: Thanks so much for the kind words. Sometimes life is filled with wonder.
This is such an amazing story! Just - wow! Full of love, faith, and hope - just what this season is all about . Thank you for blessing us with your presence and your writing here!
Lovely story, Gracielou, told in your usual expert fashion. It is clear that your spirit, your pluck, has been passed to your children. If they chose to write someday, the stories they can tell will surely be filled with the great life lessons learned from you.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

I look forward to s new year of shared posts.
What a lovely story, gracielou, and what great kids!

A lovely story, and I think miracles, in many forms, do happen.
Merry Christmas to you and family.......
Another beautiful Christmas story. Thank you.
Gracie, Gracie, Gracie,
You've got to stop making me cry at work. The only payback I get is by retelling your stories to other softies like me. This was so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your life with all of us, and thanks even more for being so gifted in putting it on the page. I totally look up to you, and though you're in good company, I can count all the people I put up that high on one hand. Have a very Merry Christmas!
Young Mung
This story is somewhat irritating (!), becasue I don't know what to say, and I have nothing to add. How about I just say it made me very happy? Have a lovely holiday, Gracielou.
Elephant tears, Gracie lou. What a wonderful story this is for you to share with us. I am humbled by this event in your life and how amazing your kids and husband were through this difficult time. You write so beautifully, it feels like your were just sitting in my living room reliving a Christmas past. Your kids in the Santa suit and waving to all the passersby, priceless! Blessings and cheer be yours this holiday and always. xoxoxo CGF
I love this story, so beautifully written, thank goodness for Santa! Honk!
Ah, Gracielou, you are a diamond that glitters regardless whether there is light or not. Thank you for this wonderful true story.

That day in '96 brought a gift of pure grace to you and your family. God mostly works through other people, in spite of what the experts tell us. There are days of grace when free gifts are given with no strings attached. I am so glad that grace came to you when you so much needed it. I would not have guessed a Santa who owned a red Ford pickup. But, why not?

The very best wishes for a blessed and joy filled Advent and Christmas from Sue and me to you and yours.

It's one thing to be broke, which I never minded too much, and quite another to have kids and be broke. Thanks for a nice story.
Merry Christmas GracieLou!!
(for mentally giving a goose to the fat man in all of us- especially mine)
"Do you believe in miracles?!" - Al Michaels

Yes, yes I do... :-)

GREAT STORY! Sometimes a smile can lead us out of the abyss.

What a wonderful story that brought tears. Lovely, sweet, and well-written.
Tis the season!
Lovely story! It is good to hear in times like these.
Ok dadburnit-how can I stay cynical with stories like this floating around??? (soft laugh)
A truly beautiful story. Thank you, and for your incredible lovely kids for remembering what's important about this season!
Thanks, gracielou. Children are little miracles, aren't they? I need to remind myself of that oncet awhile.

I'm so happy you/we believe in Santa, for now and evermore. Thank you thank you honk honk thank you for the beautifully written story.
Well, gosh darn it, now I'm all weepy too...mascara in danger of smearing all over my face. What a beautiful story...enough for many of us to believe in Santa Claus again. Thank you for your great writing given to us like a present.
O Gracielou! What a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing it, it gives me such *optimism* about everything. Blessings.
This is a terrific story and you are a great writer! There really is a Santa Claus after all! The best to you over the holidays!
Great story. I love the image of your kids with their HONK FOR SANTA sign.
Aw, tears all over my keyboard, what a wonderful story!

What a GREAT story! Where would we be without the miracles and wonders of Santa Claus? Merry Christmas to you, sweet husband and the kids!!!! :):):)
This was beautiful.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Lovely. It's good to hear about miracles. Thank you.
That got me.

Merry Christmas, gracielou!
oh my i might just have to stop reading OS posts for a while. You people keep making me cry! *HUGS* merry christmas
Oh. Beautiful. Gracie the master storyteller! I feel all warm and fuzzy now, which is a wonderful thing at 2 AM when I want to sleep and the toddler doesn't..........
Thanks for a wonderful story! It's nice to hear of these miracles and know that they can happen in the world.
now that truly is amazing. Wow. Thanks for sharing this story and reminding us to not take any day for granted. Happy Holidays!
I've heard of Secret Santas, but this one takes the cake, GracieLou. Freaky!

Ho, ho, ho....Meerrry Christmas!!
Merry Christmas to you as well. What an amazing piece.
What a beautiful piece. Thanks for reminding me of the miracle of giving...
Best thing I've read all day!!!! Weepy!!!!
Awww...I'm feelin' soft and mushy. Like oatmeal.
Awww, love this story!
Oh, wow. This was beautiful and it made me teary too. Thanks for sharing. Happy Holidays!
This is so sweet,

Your thoughts are sweet and refreshing. You give Georgia great honor.

Merry Christmas
This is a wonderful, well-written story. These are the kind of stories that renew my faith in mankind.
What a WONDERFUL story to read at the end of the day on Dec. 25. Honk! Honk!!! Merry Everything and Happy Today!
I'm not welling up. Am not, Am not. Am not!

Actually, having been there myself, I'm just amazed that you know how much you were short. I could never face totaling the unpaid bills up.