Remembering a night when I nearly messed up with Santy

Country Living with Francis Farragher

I was never quite sure, how that most welcome of Christmas visitors from the North Pole, figured out how the age limit applied as the cut-off point for his annual visit.  The thought though does stick in my mind that there was a bit more leeway with him back the years, as I recall a group of us fifth classers – in little cabals – making stiff defences of both his authenticity and our confidence in him to keep arriving.

There was friend of mine in ‘fifth’ and on one pleasant December’s afternoon after school he told me with all the confidence of a young man of the world that: “Sure, there has to be a Santy – how else could all the stuff arrive for us on Christmas morning?”

I nodded in agreement, because while my siblings count was quite small, his certainly wasn’t, and with their acreage on the low side as well, there was no possible way toys could arrive on Christmas Morning, without the assistance of that great benefactor from the skies.

“I wonder will he stay coming much longer. There’s a bit of a rumour out that he doesn’t do sixth classers anymore,” I asked with a sense of real trepidation.

My friend, John, though was a bit of a realist, coming from a very practical and hard-working family, and reassured me with that great line of common-sense that I have heard so often since.

“Sure, we’ll worry about this year first,” he replied with a air of authority that couldn’t be challenged before delivering the key punch line: “Mammy and Daddy said that there’s absolutely no doubt that he’ll come to fifth classers this year: they heard it on the radio.”

There and then, about five days before Christmas, the matter was settled although I was just a little bit perplexed that same evening when my mother looked at me between the two eyes and said to me: “Are you still expecting Santy – sure aren’t you eleven now?”

That was akin to telling a dog not to bark after a feral cat had crossed his path and I went into a little tirade of derision about her prying scepticism.

“Listen,” I said to her: “John and myself sorted all this coming home from the school the other day. He’s an absolute definite for fifth classers but we’re not so sure about next year. Now, that’s the end of it,” I spouted out in a most emphatic tone.

For a minute or so, I thought I had stunned her because her reply was very meek and complaint. “Okay so, I just wasn’t that sure myself,” she said.

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