This will no doubt be the Christmas story which causes my daughter to disown me for all time. But some Christmas stories are too good to remain within the realm of the family unit; some need to fly and be free.
Val was still in high school and driving her own car to school. It was the last day of school before Christmas break and there had been snow the night before. As she was rounding a sharp corner a few miles from our house, her car slid into the ditch. Two men in a four-wheel drive pickup drove up as she was making calls from her cell phone.
“Can we pull you out?” they offered. She was much obliged. As one of them was getting a chain from the back of his truck, another vehicle pulled up.
“What happened here?” It was a round man in a full white beard and wearing a red hat trimmed in white fur.
“Isn’t it obvious?” Val was not happy about being late for school and not happy with this jolly old elf.
The two strangers pulled her car out of the brush on the side of the road and the man in the red hat handed them a twenty. “Thank you so much. Buy yourselves some beer with the money.”
I don’t know what these two young men thought, but they took the bill, nodded their thanks and drove off. Val continued scowling. It took her a year or two to see the humor in the whole situation. What kind of Santa gives somebody money for beer? In her mind it would have been so much easier if her step-dad, on his way home from playing Santa, would have just kept driving.