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I don't recall how old I was when I discovered there really was no Santa Claus. For most children it's a rude awakening...learning that our make-believe world had floating boundaries that gradually slipped away as we became "big kids".
Judy was the baby in our family, utterly doted on by her three older brothers and Mom...well, with one caveat: Tommy could be a real pill at times. Tommy was a very grown up 6 and proud of it. Judy was just two and really looking forward to havin' Santa drop in that night, havin' a few cookies 'n maybe a cupa java before he went on his merry way. The whole family was having dinner...my older brother Rich was 13, myself at 10, Mom, and Judy. Judy blurted out that she was really hoping for a new doll, or a new some-such ...what it was really isn't important here. Anyway we were all excited that Judy was all lit up like a Christmas tree figuring what she wanted most, with "most" changing every time she thought on it. The more we talked about it, the more exhuberant Judy got, almost jumping up 'n down! Suddenly Mr. Smartypants Tommy puffed up in his "I know sumpin' you don't!" mood, blurts out "Hey...dontcha know...there ain't no Santa Claus!" Those were his exact words, I remember it clear as a bell. Tommy sat there with thet "gotcha" look on his face, cuz of course we had kept him a believer until this past year when one of his smartypants friends clued him in. For a minute we all just sat there lookin' dumbstruck. Then it hit her.
Judi looked at him, then at us, and burst into tears. She looked like Niagara Falls there for a minute. Then the rest of us jumped into action: "Don'tchu believe that," Rich and I hollered. "Tommy is just jealous cuz you're getting all the attention" Now Judy wanted to believe for sure and we could see she just needed some convincin'! Rich, who was already almost man's size, kept Tommy's trap shut by just glarin' at him. Mom calmly stepped in now. She took Judy in her arms 'n said, "Judy, of course there's a Santa Claus." Didn't he come last year?" Judy nodded her head. "And didn't he come the year before?" "Yes," she admitted, by now some hope surgin' in her heart. And then Mom gave her the "Ku de graw" - "And didn't we just visit Santa yesterday at the store?" Mom had her now. "OK then, Tommy's just jealous cuz we're all so excited for you." Then Mom looked at Tommy and said, "Tommy, there is a Santa Claus, isn't there?!" She was smiln' at Tommy but he saw the look in her eyes too, warnin' him he better be good or else.
Well now, Tommy didn't jump offa the turnip truck yesterday, no sirree! He became a believer again right before our eyes (knowin' he was dogmeat if' he didn't see things our way right quick. At first he mumbled something unintelligable but with a "gentle nudge" from Rich he said, "Yeah, I was just jealous, Judy. There's a Santa Claus."