Memories and Musings: Santa’s Cookies, A Fable

Published 8:41 am Saturday, December 26, 2020

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By Gene Gallelli

Here it was, Christmas Eve, and Mr. and Mrs. Sizemore had yet to wrap Betty Jane’s and Freddie’s gifts from Santa.

Harold Sizemore and his wife, Betty, playfully argued over who would put together the metal refrigerator Betty Jane had asked Santa for while sitting on his lap at Beck’s Department Store. Of course dad lost, like always, when it came to putting together toys with bundles of screws and funny-shaped nuts and bolts. Freddie just wanted a simple-to-assemble scooter with a flip up seat.

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But, as it was now Christmas Eve and with their bellies full of ham and scalloped potatoes followed by mom’s “famous” apple pie, Betty Jane and Freddie were more concerned about what to leave Santa to eat with his glass of milk — they had already decided on carrots for the reindeer.

Unfortunately, Dad was unable to dissuade the children from choosing quick-and-easy, no-bake peanut butter cookies. Peanut butter gave father Sizemore the hives! (His wife loved to tell anyone who would listen that it took a “gallon” of calamine lotion to calm his itching last time he sampled one of the cookies.)

With the kids both snuggled safely in bed — after ensuring the milk, cookies and carrots had been left out for Jolly Old Saint Nick and the reindeer — mom and dad Sizemore retrieved the “Santa” gifts from the hall closet and began furiously assembling and wrapping them. The night would be long and morning would come way too soon.

At the crack of dawn on Christmas morning, Betty Jane and Freddie came racing down the stairs heading for the presents under the tree. They found dad asleep in his recliner holding a screwdriver and mom dozing on the couch with a strip of tape stuck to her chin.

“Merry Christmas!” shouted the children, startling mom and dad awake. Immediately upon clearing his head, dad panicked because he realized the cookies and carrots hadn’t been “eaten” or half the milk drunk by Santa and his reindeer.

Immediately, Mr. Sizemore’s “daddy” instincts kicked in, and horrified at the thought of disappointing the children, he raced to the fireplace, ate the two cookies, bit the carrots, and drank half-a-glass of milk.

The Sizemore children loved all the toys Santa had left, but not the pajamas they both needed.

Mom’s roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy, and creamed spinach were a big hit at dinner, but the plate of cut-out and icing-decorated cookies were the hit of the day. Everyone agreed it was the best Christmas ever.

When school began after the holidays, Betty Jane and Freddie made all their friends laugh hysterically when they told them how their dad had wiggled and scratched himself all though Christmas dinner.

(When moms and dads sacrifice to show their children love, they too are the Magi.)

Gene Gallelli was associate superintendent of the Dare County Schools for eight years. He received his Doctor of Education degree from East Carolina University, where he taught and supervised students studying to become school administrators.