By John R. Greenwood
Do you believe in Miracles?
Last night after the snowplows had made their last swipe through the neighborhood; after the budget conscious homes had shut off their neatly hung Christmas lights; after the late news had taken one more swing at scaring Aunt Thelma into thinking she might run out of bread and milk; after the alarm clock was set and my head dropped to the pillow like a bowling ball; I finally dozed off.
Long after midnight I awoke to the sound of jingle bells. They were barely audible but their identity was unmistakable. My first reaction wasn’t one of questioning the source but more simply; “Why is Santa here two weeks early?” I threw back the quilt, swung my legs around, and pulled back the curtain. It was snowing those big heavy kleenex size flakes that are so heavy you can hear them dropping on the hood of the car. The motion-light on the side of the garage was on and illuminating the yard like a broadway stage. I could still hear the bells but they were fading high in the snow-filled air.
Then I looked down.
There in the blanketed yard next to the garage was a set of sleigh-width parallel lines, large V-shaped tracks and a huge four-foot long set of antlers. Now, I’ve run across some pretty unbelievable things in my life, but this took my breath away. Here I was a splinter away from ancient and I’d just had my closest Santa encounter ever. The funny part is I didn’t feel all that surprised about almost seeing Santa and a reindeer, I was more consumed by why he stopped by so early? Was he doing a test run? Maybe Mrs. Claus ran out of milk? My mind went in one-hundred directions until I remembered one thing; there was a set of reindeer antlers in my yard as proof that Santa really does exist! I needed to get out there grab the antlers and get a picture of the sleigh and reindeer tracks just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.
I yanked on my pants and grabbed a sweatshirt from the hook on the back of the door. As I bent over to pick up my boots I lost my balance and fell headlong into the closet smashing my head on the door casing. I went out like I’d just taken a Mike Tyson shot to the chin. I ended up in a heap like a coiled lab in front of a warm stove.
The next thing I remember is waking up to my wife gently shaking my shoulder saying, “John, are you okay? You fell and hit your head. What happened?”
I shook out the cobwebs, looked around to make sure Mike was gone and climbed back up to the edge of the bed. I don’t know how long I was out but there was no blood and no bump. My head didn’t hurt one bit. It was very strange. My wife looked at me like she usually does when I tell her, "I have an idea!” She had that, “Now what?” look. As I began to tell her about the bells and the tracks I realized I hadn’t gotten the pictures or the proof yet! I slid into my all-weather slippers and ran to the door like a kid running down the hall Christmas morning. I didn’t have a second to waste so instead of getting my camera from the other room I just grabbed my phone from the table in the hall. “I’ll just use this.", I muttered to myself.
I burst out the back door and my jaw dropped.
There must have been another half-foot of snow on the ground since my semi-Santa sighting. The tracks were all gone. There wasn’t even an indentation in the snow. I stood there with slumped shoulders and snow-filled slippers. I looked up at the backdoor to see my wife shake her head, turn around and walk back into the darkness.
There poking out from snow at the edge of the garage was the tiniest tip of an antler. I shuffled over to it, bent over and gently pulled on it. There in a backyard in northeast New York a kid with grey hair and a pounding heart pulled out the most majestic set of reindeer antlers you’ve ever seen. They had a golden hue and were the size of Texas. I've seen pictures of reindeer with beautiful antlers but none of them possessed the trophy-like quality of the ones I had in my hand.
I snapped the picture below as undisputed proof that Santa Claus does exist and that he stopped by my backyard two weeks before Christmas. I Googled reindeer antlers and sure enough they do shed them every year. The strange part is they usually last until after Christmas. Just like me, Santa's reindeer must be having trouble keeping track of time.
It's okay though because I might have missed this picture in February.
"Happy Holidays" everyone.
May all 'your' Christmas miracles come true!