Well, here I am again, you’ll remember me for sure, because I’ve been writing to you for nigh on seventy years now, since I first learned to print, and I suppose I should stop believing in you, but you know us old folks, we forget even the disappointments in life, it makes our days so much easier.
Maybe you don’t remember me — sometimes even I forget people, it’s true, so I’ll introduce myself again.
I’m Louise, second of five kids in the Robson family, from Wilkie originally—and to be fair, you were really good to us when we were kids. When my sister wanted a horse, you brought us Rory, a very large German Shepherd dog. He wasn’t a horse, granted, but we hooked him up to sleighs and wagons and toboggans and he pulled like a horse, he really did. Sometimes we even tried hitching ourselves to him, wearing our skates, when the streets were really icy. It was dangerous, true, but fun and we could almost stay upright.
The advantage of Rory over a horse was, we could keep him in the house, and he could even come to bed with us. A horse would have been difficult that way.
Speaking of skates, those were wonderful too. I remember those brand-new Bauer figure skates, gleaming white, sharp as could be, my first pair with picks on the front. I have long since forgiven you for the hundreds of times those picks threw me on my face, it’s surprising I survived middle childhood in spite of them…especially when our Dad would build us a rink in our back yard, and it was rough enough to be a challenge without those blinkety-blank picks on my skates. I’m sure you noticed, one of our favourite things to do was build a ramp down from the platform at the base of the clothesline, down to the ice surface. We’d pack it with snow and spray it with water and see if anyone could actually skate down it without needing an ambulance at the bottom.
I did finally forgive you for the picks on those skates. My knees have not forgiven you, but we’re still friends — you and me, and my knees, so far.
And Santa, I still have some of the things you gave me so long ago—remember when black diamond jewelry was all the rage? I have the silver & black diamond necklace still. I never understood why it had to look like something from Siam, with that weird elephant on it, it should have had something Canadian on it, like a beaver or a moose, maybe. No, I’m wrong about that. Forgive me, the elephant is fine. But next time, maybe something closer to home, like a crocus, or a Mountie?
Santa, I remember too the year those fisherman-knit sweaters were all the rage, and all the girls my age were dying to have one, and you came through! I know it was you because we had haunted the stores and there weren’t any in our little town so it couldn’t have been Mom. My sweater was a pale blue, my very favorite colour, and though the wool was scratchy, I wore it half to shreds by putting a shirt underneath, and it didn’t look as cool as on the models in the catalogues, but I never was model material anyway.
I realized that for sure the year the Banlon sweater sets came. We went to a lot of movies, you know, and we saw those starlets in their Maidenform bras and their gorgeous sweaters. It’s not your fault my sweater didn’t look like that. Maidenform bras were still a way off in my future and even though I asked you time and time again for a sweater that looked like Ava Gardner’s, I know that’s something you just couldn’t do for me. I’m sure you wanted to, you old scamp.
Same thing with the hats and hairdos: take Doris Day or Grace Kelly, they always looked so pretty and perfect! Remember when Barbara Ann Scott was a famous skating star and she wore that lovely white fur headband, you brought me one of those, thank you, but my mousy, thin, scraggly hair just didn’t do it justice. Did it ever occur to you that you should have brought me a blonde wig too?
Ah, Santa, the years have flown, and I don’t want skates anymore, but I could sure use some pretty, quick-release cleats for the bottom of my boots this winter. The ice is such a hazard and my pull-on rubber cleats are ugly and hard to put on, and if I wear them downtown, I don’t want to go into the stores or the post office with them on. You get that, don’t you? So, I’d like some that look nice, easy to snap onto my boots, and easy to get off, you know, without having to sit down or even bend over, please, so I could leave them by the door to go in and get the mail or do my shopping. You can figure something out, I’m sure. Think about coloured straps, some rhinestones, maybe—or flashy lights like on the kids’ running shoes, wouldn’t that be fun?
And I don’t want a horse, thank you, and I already have the greatest little dog, so let’s talk about cars instead. Now I do have a car that’s quite suitable, but it needs some new winter tires, and have you seen the price of those things?! It’s crazy! R15 is the size, and I’d like some serious, tree-climbing, growlers that scoff at ice and can climb over the ridges the snowplow leaves at the end of my driveway, that would be great, thank you.
And Dear Santa, I’d like a really, nice wine glass, crystal, but one that’s actually a sippy cup but doesn’t look like one? All those telltale red splatters on the floor between the kitchen and living room are evidence of something only you and I need to know about, you get my drift?
And Santa, I’d like one of those techie smart-house things that do everything you ask, so if I forget my friend’s name I can just say, Google, who was it that just came by to see me? Or Siri, where did I leave my car keys? Google, you sweetheart, please start the dang dishwasher so I don’t have to get up and leave the movie just now, I think they’re going to fall in love. Um, Google, where did the dog hide my other sock? Google, did I get the clothes out of the dryer or are they still languishing there, getting all wrinkly?
Speaking of wrinkly, Santa, what are we going to do about this old skin? I’ve seen lots of ads for fancy creams that claim to make it look better, but I don’t trust them, do you? If by chance there’s something you think would help, please put it in my stocking? It’ll be hanging on the mantel as usual. But don’t try coming down the chimney, this fireplace isn’t like the one we had in Wilkie, this one’s electric and doesn’t have a chimney. You can figure this out, I know. Tell you what, I’ll just forget to lock the door, I do that lots anyway. And there might be some of the rum & eggnog left for you if I’m a good girl. No shortbread, though, sorry about that.
Thanks you in advance, Santa. And please see that my friends and I have everything we need to avoid this dampener thing, like masks and social distance yardsticks and vaccines and hand sanitizer and stuff.
Merry Christmas, and lots of love, from Louise.