22. Santa Claus Rocks the Mills

22. Santa Claus Rocks the Mills

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas!

Santa Claus Rocks the Mills

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.

~William Shakespeare

It started so simply, during a walk in the woods. My husband, Bob, stood in front of a massive stone boulder, stirred by its stark splendor. “Wouldn’t you love something like this in our yard?” he asked. “It’s so magnificent!” And when I saw the deepness of his wonderment, I swore to myself that somehow… I was going to make this happen.

We live in a small town in Massachusetts called Marstons Mills, commonly called the Mills. The land is flat with no large rocks or boulders. I had no idea where to find one. Well, who would?

I called monument companies and gardening centers and got nowhere. Then I called a landscaping company.

Stephen, the owner, didn’t act like I was a lunatic when I told him I wanted the largest boulder he could find, delivered on Christmas Eve. Actually, he jumped right in. “How about we have Santa deliver it in a sleigh on a flatbed?” I loved the idea.

“Where is your septic tank?” he asked.

Bob turned pale when I asked him that same question several days later. “Your gift is too heavy to go over it,” I hinted.

Three days before Christmas, I called the local newspaper’s photo department and told somebody named Ron about the rock. “Why are you doing this?” he asked me.

“It’s what Bob wants,” I said.

Then I called local TV station. These were not easy calls. Can you imagine explaining that Santa would deliver an 18,000-pound boulder on Christmas Eve? (You got it. Nine colossal tons.) I invited all our neighbors to greet Santa, but I wouldn’t say what he was bringing.

On December 24th, at 3 p.m., twelve pizzas arrived. I had bedecked our backyard shed with wreaths and lights and put out plenty of cookies and soda.

“It’s time.” I said to Bob. We stood at the end of the driveway, alone. Oh no, I thought. Nobody’s coming to meet Santa. And I was so hoping we’d have a party in the shed. And then, like an image from a Dickens tale, children with their dogs emerged from the woods. Parents came out of their houses. The TV station van pulled up and the newspaper photographer arrived. I was trembling with excitement.

Then came the air horn, blasting away, as a caravan of trucks filled with families in Christmas costumes came rumbling down the street. Police closed the road to traffic. Over loudspeakers, we heard “Merry Christmas, Bob!” as Santa rang sleigh bells from the front of a giant flatbed that carried wooden reindeer, kids dressed as elves and a bright red sleigh with the rock.

Bob’s expression was priceless. He didn’t speak for minutes. Finally, he whispered, “You bought me a rock?”

“Why not?” We hugged. “It’s what you wanted.”

And so, we had our party. Everyone frolicked around the boulder with overflowing plates of pizza and Oreos. Carols filtered through the air. Our story was told on that night’s local news. Our picture was in the paper with the words, “Tons of Love” underneath.

It was a Christmas only dreams are made of.

Late that night, Bob and I climbed the rock and sat on the top sharing cookies. I thought of all the people that helped make this fairy tale happen and I pictured my community gathered in awe. We had all re-discovered holiday magic that day, when Santa Claus rocked the Mills.

~Saralee Perel

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