A crusty curmudgeon and a cast of characters taught me the wonder of Santa's Cause...
My Crusty Curmudgeon Father:
In October of 1981 my father (pictured above in 1990) was admitted to Northern Michigan Hospitals to have bypass surgery done in the hopes of restoring circulation to his left foot. Unfortunately, the surgery failed about a month later and he had to have the foot amputated. The date for that surgery was the 9th of December.
Back then patients were kept in the hospital longer than they are today and because of the date there was some question if he would be home for Christmas or not but when Doctor Ledingham told us that he was certain that dad would be home for Christmas we kids all believed him. Unfortunately, following the surgery dad got an infection and we made the decision to put Christmas on "hold" until dad came home from the hospital. Interestingly enough, it was us kids who suggested it to mom rather than the other way around.
I remember someone asking me at the hospital what I wanted for Christmas and I looked at her and said"my dad to come home" because that was all that I wanted. Dad to be home.
Christmas eve came and for some reason I was the last person to bed that night. There wasn't a single decoration up, nothing special had been planned for meals... we were all planning on being at the hospital all day. That was about midnight.
I got up about 530 in the morning to build a fire in the cookstove and start a pot of coffee before waking my brothers up to go to the barn to do morning chores and there was a light on in the kitchen. I knew that I had shut the lights off when I went to bed and that mom and the boys were all still sleeping so I kind of scratched my head and decided that one of the boys had gotten up and left the lights on.
Imagine my surprise when I walked into the kitchen and sitting at the end of the table in a wheelchair was my father, drinking a cup of coffee. I let out a scream that woke everyone else in the house up. The look on my mother's face was priceless when she came around the corner to see what I was screaming about.
The looks on the faces of my brothers and I when we walked into the living room and discovered that Santa's Elves had delivered a decorated tree, presents and the makings for dinner were even more priceless.
Dad never revealed who brought him home on Christmas eve, he just laughed and said "Santa's Elves." Dr Ledingham, almost 30 years later (and 20 years after my father's death), still refuses to say who pulled off that particular miracle and not only got dad out of the hospital but brought him home and delivered dinner and presents *without* waking anyone in the house up. My mother had no clue who brought dad home or who arranged for us to have Christmas on Christmas Day that year.
The secret remains... in 30 years nobody has blabbed.
Santa Claus? I don't know.
Santa's CAUSE on the other hand... I'll help with any time.