Browsing all articles from December, 2012

Another Christmas Story

Posted Posted by DetectiveEstes in Detective Estes' Corner     Comments No comments

I was 8 years old that Christmas. It looked like it was going to be no Christmas, at least for me. My Mom didn’t work outside the house and my Dad was sick. In bed sick. He hadn’t worked for nearly two months! There was no money in our house, let alone extra money for what I wanted for Christmas.

We rented a little bungalow in Colesville, Maryland. The lady that rented it to us was really nice. I called her Miss Elizabeth. Miss Elizabeth’s mother lived in the house with her. My 3rd grade teacher, Ms. Coleman, also rented from Miss Elizabeth. Our rent was $20 a month. We came there during the summer of 1957. My Dad was looking for another place to rent and saw this place and liked it right off.

The houses sat on a lot of about 3 acres I guess. There was Miss Elizabeth’s house, our house right next door and another house across a small yard from ours. Miss Elizabeth’s house was the largest of the three. Miss Elizabeth also ran a farm of about 50 acres. She had eight cows and milked them every day and every evening. She sold the milk every morning by setting the milk cans out on the road and someone would come pick them up. Sometimes I got to help milk the cows.

After living here for a little while, I decided I wanted a pellet pistol and a BB rifle for Christmas. I also wanted a pair of cap guns in twin holsters that I could tie down to my legs for fast draw work. On an off-thought I wanted a bicycle, but wasn’t too worried about that because I couldn’t ride much because the area was mostly grass. Mom and Dad both told me things weren’t going well that year. Dad was sick and for real, no money was coming in. Mom had no job and my grandparents on both sides only had money enough for their own families. Chances were Very good that there would be no Christmas this year. Indeed, I knew very well that no money was entering our house because we went hungry many dinners during that winter for lack of money. About once a week, we would all fast through the day. Too bad I wasn’t fat. That weight I lost would have been helpful if I had been. My mother lost about 10 pounds. My Dad somehow didn’t lose very much.

I wrote Santa a letter around the middle of December. I asked for a pellet pistol and BB rifle, and cap guns in twin holsters. It had just snowed starting that week so I didn’t ask for a bicycle because I thought Santa would wonder why I thought I needed a bicycle in the snow.

On Christmas Eve night, Dad was in bed and very sick. Mom and I made a few cookies out of what was left over from dinner. We put the cookies right next to the fireplace. We opened the fireplace doors and made sure the fire was out so Santa wouldn’t get burned coming down the chimney. Throughout the day there had been snow so there was about five inches down already. Dad & I talked about the snow and how Santa’s reindeer would really be flying fast tonight because snow made reindeer faster. Since Santa might be by sooner I thought I’d better go to bed soon.

Just before bed Mom and Dad talked to me about what I wanted. They pointed out that we were hardly going to have enough to eat for Christmas Day and that I shouldn’t look forward to much to getting a lot for Christmas. I almost cried. I knew we were really poor, but not That bad! Mom & I went to my bed and knelt down by my bed. I prayed that we would have enough to eat for Christmas and I prayed my Dad would feel better. Then I got into bed and went to sleep.

I slept really soundly in this house all the time. The area was dark, no lights on anywhere. On this night, it was so quiet I think I really could have heard a mouse walk through the house! The snow was gently falling and deadening all sound outside.

I woke up in the middle of the night with a loud thump right above me on the roof!! I lay in bed and listened hard for more sounds. I was positive it was Santa, or his reindeer! I didn’t hear any more sounds. After awhile, I got up and went into Mom & Dad’s bedroom and woke Dad up. “Dad, I just heard a big thump on the roof. Did you hear it?” Dad said no he had been asleep. Dad got up though, and went to the door and looked outside. By now there was nearly a foot of snow on the ground. Dad said there was nothing outside like anyone was walking. He walked me back to my bedroom. On the way we walked right past the living room. I peered in but nothing new was there. It was disappointing. I got back in bed. But who could sleep after that?

After a long time of lying in bed being awake I got up again. I snuck back to the living room, and once again I stuck my head inside the door. HOLY COW!!! Practically hanging on the tree was a shiny and bright pistol!! It looked exactly like what I’d asked for, for Christmas!!! And, standing up, right beside it was the coolest sled I had ever seen!! It was so long!! It was wood, with red metal runners. The name on it was ‘Flexible Flyer’.

I ran into my parent’s bedroom. “Mom, Dad, Santa came!! He left a pistol and a really neat sled!! Come see!” Mom groaned I thought. My Dad grinned at me and climbed on out of bed. He walked up to the fireplace and beckoned me over. Right outside of it were ashes in the shape of shoe prints. The cookies and milk were gone. Santa really had been at our house!

We all walked in to the living room. I ran over and picked up the pistol. It actually had been stuck on one of the tree branches. It was chrome and it reminded me of one of the guns Dad had except his were dark looking and this was bright and shiny. Dad showed me that it would shoot BB’s, pellets & even darts! He showed me that all I had to do was push the end of the barrel down, load it with one shot, shut the barrel and cock the gun. We went to the front door and shot it outside a few times. It made hardly any noise. My Dad told me I should shoot mostly BB’s in it because they were the least expensive, even though they wouldn’t be as accurate as pellets. There were only 5 darts with the gun. Dad said I shouldn’t shoot these unless I intended to shoot a bird or something like that with it because the darts were very expensive.

From the pistol, I went over to the sled. Dad said, “Flexible Flyer sleds are the best and the fastest. We’ll wax these runners and this thing will almost fly over the ground!” I could hardly wait to try it out!! “Soon as we can walk down to the road, we’ll take a ride on it” Dad said. “I’ll bet we can go almost to the end of the road on it. It’ll be a long walk back.” I knew I had to ride this sled soon!

My Dad found my brand new cap guns under the tree. “Looky here” he said. He picked up the holster set. The guns were chrome plated sixguns with long barrels. The holsters were just what I asked for. Brown leather belt with two drop down fast draw holsters, tooled in white, with tie down leather thongs to hold them in place for horseback riding and fast draws. “Try them on,” Dad said, I put the belt and holsters on. They fit perfectly. And the guns fit the holsters like they were made for each other. “Tie them down.” Dad said. I used the leather thongs and tied the holsters in place on my thighs. Even still in my pajamas, I knew I was going to have wonderful times with these guns. I tried a few fast draws with them. They were perfect – the guns were quick to get to, super-fast out of the holsters and straight out in front of me. Lightning fast. I knew that with practice I could get as fast as the Lone Ranger, my very favorite TV lawman.

“Dad,” I said, “Do you think that thump I heard earlier could have been Santa on the roof?” Dad said “I don’t know; why don’t we go take a look?” Mom looked a little worried, “you’re both still in your pajamas and its very cold outside. You better change before you go outside in that cold.” Dad said he would hold me up out of the snow. We walked to the back door. Dad opened the door, picked me up, stuck his feet in some moccasins and out we went. There was about a foot of snow on the ground. I didn’t think about it then, but Dad’s feet must have been freezing!

I looked up at the roof. “Dad!! Dad!,” I whispered to him, “Look at the roof, there’s footprints up there and sleigh marks!! Santa really was here, Dad!!” My Dad looked up, then he looked down at me. I knew he was as surprised as I was. “How on earth did they get up there? They do look like sleigh runners!”

We went back inside. Dad went up to Mom and said, “You should go out there, it looks like somebody was on the roof last night. It looks like sleigh runners and a bunch of tiny feet marks.” Mom didn’t believe Dad and she didn’t go outside so she didn’t see the marks. At all. I thought maybe she didn’t really believe Dad.

But I believed him. Because I was there. And I saw all those little hoof marks, lots of them. I saw them just like my Dad did.

A lot of folks might poo-poo this, but they weren’t there. They didn’t see those tiny hoof marks in the snow on the roof of our house. And they didn’t see the marks of the sleigh either. That’s why, even to this day, more than 50 years later, I STILL believe in Santa Claus….And I always will.

About Detective Estes

Detective EstesMr. Estes has lived in the DC Metropolitan area for most of his life. His father’s influence and expertise in firearms resulted in Mr. Estes beginning to rifle shoot at a young age and eventually shooting on the Washington-Lee High School rifle team in Arlington, VA.

Detective Estes’ Corner Archives