Today I found myself daydreaming about the past. I was 8 years old and Christmas was only a few days away. I had searched the house high and low for any presents that may be in hiding from my prying eyes to no avail. I had taken the time some two months earlier to carefully craft my Christmas list and although there appeared to be a few presents under the tree with my name on them I still was having trouble locating a box that fit the size or shape of the main present that I had requested.
How could this be? I mean I was pretty clear about my wishes, I know I hadnt always been good during the year, but I surely hadnt warranted the number one gift to be crossed from the list. Had I? My parents were shrewd, crafty, some may even say sinister in the ability to hide presents during the holidays. But at 8 I knew I was smarter than them, I always found my dads stash of chocolate chip cookies, I knew where my mom hid her candy, and there wasnt a day that went by I didnt know the exact moment when anything that had been hidden was moved. I was stealthy and crafty and honing my skills. So how, how could it be, that it seemed as though no one had even thought to obtain the number one gift I had so desired? It was mind boggling!
My family never had much money and for me to be so self centered as to believe that what ever gift I wished for I would recieve was also ludicris. But in the mind of an 8 year old only two things can happen at Christmastime. Either mom and dad purchased the item or Santa Claus was in on the action. Now being of sound mind I had eventually come to the conclusion that ole St. Nick was my main man! I knew for sure he had my six. On Christmas morning there it would be, glowing like the northern star from the heavens above. But wait! Had I blown my chance with all my stealthy snooping? I mean the cat is good but can he really see all of us when we are “naughty”? I remember thinking about this in depth, so much so I didnt even take the time to ridicule my sister that evening even once, which of course brought unwanted attention to me from my mother. But I played it cool, helped with dishes, pondered some more, picked up clothes and pondered some more, went and laid on my bed, wondering if Santa could see me now? What was he thinking? Why was I being tortured this way? My day would have, no should have gone so much better, if only I had found my present! But there lays the contridiction it all…. If I found it I was definetly on the naughty list, because I looked for it and didnt find it or any presents I may have been in a “grey” area. What to do, What to do?
It was definetly a long two days. Kissing parental ass, being extra nice to my sister, like an employee who knows hes about to get fired and is trying extra hard to save his already lost job. But in the end it was one of the best Christmasses ever. I awoke that morning, it was still dark outside, I went to wake my sister, but then I thought no, I want this moment all to myself. I carefull strolled the outskirts of the tree, wringing my hands and licking my lips. There was so much stuff and all of it gleamed like a new penny. As I was ready to give up, with shoulders slouched and head hung low, I looked towards the angel on top of the tree to ask why. There it was, in a box, stuck in the tree. What I had waited for all year, the item I had lost sleep over tossing and turning wondering, had I made the grade. Well I had! The big man in red came through! I knew he would! Knew it all along! Yep!
The Christmas I turned 8 was the year I got my first G.I. Joe! It was the year I became a soldier, a man! It was the year of many adventure between me and Joe! we conquered all foes, foriegn and domestic. We slept many night is the bush under the stars, listening for the sounds of approaching enimies. We killed many soldiers and showed them a soldiers respect upon thier demise! No video games only Joe and I and our imaginations!
One more thing, it was also the year I quit looking for presents in hidden places. The risks, the loss of sleep and being nice to my sister were just more than I could bear in the year that I was 8.