on this article
by Kaila Chan
It was the Christmas season of
1978, and my 6-year old son and I were living in a small
town located in Southern California. After an afternoon
of playing with some neighborhood children, my son,
Daryl, came home in tears. One of the older neighborhood
boys had told him there was no Santa Claus. Daryl was
"How can there be no Santa Claus?" Daryl asked
me. "We have pictures of me and Santa
together...remember? We saw Santa at the mall."
I knew I had to do something to restore the joy and magic
my son felt at Christmas, so I came up with a plan that I
hoped would be the perfect way to bring back the
excitement of Christmas to my little boy.
On Christmas Eve, after Daryl had gone to bed, I took a
ladder from the garage and climbed up onto the flat roof
of our little one-story house. I hung a huge row of
sleigh bells around my neck so that my hands would be
free to hold the ladder as I climbed up onto the roof. I
moved upward slowly and carefully, in an effort to make
no noise that might give me away. Once I got on the roof,
I stomped all over the rooftop, jangling those bells and
"Ho Ho Ho-ing" in my deepest, most manly voice
until I was out of breath and quite giddy from trying to
keep from giggling. I kept wondering what my son must be
thinking as he heard the commotion up on our roof.
Suddenly, I noticed a light go on in my son's bedroom. I
gingerly laid the bells on the roof top, then quickly and
quietly climbed down the ladder and ran into the kitchen.
A bit out of breath, I attempted to put the appropriate
look on my face and tried to look as composed and
nonchalant as I could and waited for Daryl to come
looking for me.
As Daryl appeared in the kitchen doorway, looking
wide-eyed with wonder, the doorbell rang. We went
together to answer the door. I'm sure Daryl must have
thought it was Santa at the door, having discovered that
we didn't have a chimney or fireplace. But, to my chagrin
and great surprise, there stood two policemen! One of my
neighbors, coming home from a party, had seen me on the
roof but didn't know it was me. She called the police to
report seeing an intruder! I was mortified. Obviously,
with my son standing next to me, I couldn't tell the
policemen that I was the one making all the racket on the
roof, and in the confusion of the moment, it never
occurred to me to send Daryl to his room.
I stammered as I tried to lamely explain "who"
might have been on the roof, and at the same time,
nodding my head toward Daryl and winking furiously,
hoping the policemen would take the hint that I couldn't
really go into details in front of my son. They must have
thought I was a wacky 28-year old woman with a terrible
tic in one eye, a horrendous speech impediment and
serious neck spasm, as I tried to tell them that it was
probably just Santa Claus on the roof.
We laugh about it now, but at the time I worried that my
good intentions might backfire. However, all's well that
ends well. The two police officers finally caught on to
my prank and left laughing, and my son returned to his
bed that night to dream of sugar plums, visits from Santa
and the beauty of Christmas renewed.