From Chicken Soup for the Country Soul

Simpler Times

The heart generous and kind most resembles God.

Robert Burns

In 1949, school let out for Christmas and Pedro and Emmett rode the school bus home, talking and thinking about Santa Claus. Emmett said that he had tried to be good and wanted a BB gun. Pedro had gotten old enough and big enough and bright enough to know that if Santa Claus was going to bring him his favorite toys, he needed to pray real loud so Mama, Daddy and Grandmama could hear him. He also knew that it helped to turn down the pages in the Sears & Roebuck catalog in the outhouse. But deep down, Pedro wanted to believe in Santa Claus just like his younger friend, Emmett.

Christmas morning arrived and there it was, the shiny brand new bicycle just like Pedro wanted. Also there was some fruit and a brand new Little Red Ryder BB gun. Pedro couldn’t wait to show Emmett and headed to Emmett’s house. Upon arrival, Emmett looked over at Pedro, barely able to speak, and said, “Pedro, Santa Claus didn’t come. Either I’ve been bad, or he ran out of toys.” Pedro could see the hurt in Emmett’s eyes and hear the disappointment in Emmett’s voice. Pedro, without thinking, replied, “Emmett, Santa did come. He thought you were spending the night with me, and he left your BB gun at my house. I was a-bringin’ it to you.”

Emmett grinned like a baked opossum and was excited as a bug in a tater patch. Emmett hugged Pedro, and Pedro hugged back. At nine years old, at that moment, Pedro once again learned there really is a Santa Claus. On the way home on his new bike without his BB gun, Pedro kept thinking, Please Mama, don’t be mad, and she wasn’t.

Charle s D. Williams, M.D.

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