My Dad was the original Grinch.
This is the story of how the Grinch, in this case my dad, told me a story every Christmas eve about the sad fate of Santa and his reindeer.
My dad worked in an automobile factory in Flint Michigan back in the fifties and worked a half day on Christmas Eve. I would be home eagerly waiting for him to get there so we could eat dinner and spend some time by the tree before it was my bed time. Without fail as soon as he got home he would look at me and say, “Son I don’t know how to tell you this but I have some bad news for you. I really don’t want to tell you this but I think you are old enough to handle it.” With this short introduction he would launch into the terrible scene he had witnessed on the way home from work. The number of casualties and the time of the event sometimes changed but the general crux of the story never did. He told me this story for as long as I would believe it and then years later carried on the tradition with my children. I will tell you this story as I remember it well.
Dad would make a sad face and let out a big sigh and then he would say. “I was on my way home from work and when I got to the corner of Grand Blanc and Linden Rd. there were ambulances and police cars all over the place. I was a long way back in traffic but I could see the ambulance crew working on a man in a red suit lying along side of the road, and he didn’t look to good. There were toys and presents all wrapped up and scattered along the road and some were in the field. I just don’t know how to go on with this but you are a big boy and I know you can handle it. Well as I got closer I watched them check out some of the reindeer and some were so bad they had to shoot them, it broke my heart to see them do this but it had to be done. Next I was able to get close enough to see that the man in the red suit was Santa Claus and his suit was all ripped and torn and they had a big bandage on his head and he was on a stretcher being loaded in the ambulance. It looked so bad I stopped and ask one of the policemen what happened and they told me that Santa had landed in the road because the sleigh was having trouble with the wind, and just as he was starting to take off a drunk ran the stop sign and hit him broadside. The drunk drove off and just left Santa there alongside the road but the farmer on the corner called the police to get Santa some help. I don’t know Son but it looks like there will be no toys under the tree for you or anyone else this Christmas.”
By this time I would be crying and my Mother would be mad and Dad would be laughing at both of us until he would finely go in the kitchen and get on the phone and pretend to call a friend of his on the police department. He would shake his head and pretend to be listening to the latest news about the wreck and the condition of Santa and then he would smile and hang up, then he would turn to me and say,” I have some good news for you, Santa is going to be ok, and a lot of people picked up the toys and helped repair the sleigh and enough of the reindeer were ok to fly to get the sleigh off the ground and get Santa on his way in time to deliver everything before tomorrow morning.”
After I quit crying my Mother and I would set out the cookies and milk on the table for Santa to eat when he came there, and guess what, in the morning the cookies and milk would be gone and the presents would be under the tree.