Do You Believe?

Back when we'uns were nuthin' but a litter, my li'l brother suffered a serious life setback.

A neighbor boy wif' the temper of a he-coon done dealt baby brother a double blow: Thar' ain't no Stork, an' thar' ain't no Santa.

Which, come to think, is 'bout the same thang.

Natcherly this conversation occurred a few weeks a'fore Christmas. An' jes' as natcherly it put Granny in a spin to find some means of keepin' a little twinkly magic in baby brother's Christmas.

Brother chile' wuz unfazed by the first revelation, declarin' wif' eight-year ole authority, "Eeewww! GROSS! Gross, gross gross! Mah Daddy would never do a thang like

But the second revelation carried a penalty: Iffin' a fella persisted in believin' in Santa Clause, he' got hisself labeled a sissy, a baby. It made thangs difficult in the sandlot.

So... kid Brother manfully maintained that "Santa is for babies. I doan believe it no more." An we'uns noticed how the happy spark of childhood seemed dim after this revelation took aholt of him.

Granny Cracker believed. She believed in Christmas as a time for miracles, some known only to the heart. Her own grief over li'l brother's dilemma like to have ruint her own Christmas spirit. Pappy Cracker, on t'other hand, thought he had a remedy.

In them days we lived in a big ole house near downtown Hog Town Creek. This house were built in the 1800s so it had high ceilings and spacious rooms. Ever year Granny insisted on a tree that touched the ceiling, but the onliest room that could take such a large tree wuz the foyer, cause it had the least stuff to move out to make room for these massive fir trees. That year the tree wuz the finest one yet. Its lights threw dancin' sparkles over the presents beneath it boughs.

Despite an unbeliever in our midst, the rest of us young'uns wuz mighty excited. Visions of sugarplums abounded. Christmas Eve arrived in a flurry of last minute baking, secret elf errands, and visits with friends who stopped in for a cup o' cheer. Mistletoe hung from the chandelier, the halls were decked, the fragrance of cinnamon and pine wafted through the rooms, an we chillen's were jumpin' wif' excitement: Santa Claus is a' comin'

Li'l brother
wanted to believe. But the he-coon neighbor boy done put him on point, "Yore Daddy an' Mama is foolin' ya. They act like they believe so's youse tricked into thinkin' a fat man is comin' down yore chimney wif' a sack of toys."

Ya could see the anguish on Li'l Brother's face : Iffin' thar' ain't no Santa why's all these others so happy?

Granny, seein' the boy was torn up over this thang, tried to soothe his anxiety, "Sugar Pie, it ain't too late. Write Santy a letter an' we'll put in right on the tree-right on the front of the tree. Mayhap somethin' ya want will still be in his pack of toys."

Poor Li'l Brother, he jes' hunkered down into his disbelief.

We had a Cuzin crash through the door late Christmas Eve, his arms laden wif' bow topped boxes. "Cain't stay, y'all, jes' makin' mah rounds." But he spied the glum disbeliever sittin' off to the side of the sofa in the livin' room fiddlin' wif' a Rubic's Cube, unsolved since it appeared in his stockin' last year.

"Say! Looky heah, this is day for laughin' but youse wearin' a long face, " Cuzin boomed. "Whas' on yore mind, Sonny?"

"Cousin Nick, how come grown ups lie to chillen? Thar' ain't no Santa," Li'l Brother mumbled, his misery sittin' heavy. " I cain't believe in that foolishness no more. What if thar ain't no Santy, but I let mahself be fooled?"

Eying the chile's rigid resolve, Cuzin Nick slid the Rubic's Cube off the boy's lap an started a twistin'.

"Oh, I know that feelin'. Shure now. Lot's a folks go that-a-way. Them's the same folks that believe they seen the haint of Aunt Lizzy in the garden, an' they visit the palm reader over on Jefferson Street. They read their horryscopes an' fear black cats." Cuzin Nick twisted the Cube, click-clack, thwak-wack.

"Well, every fella has to decide this matter hisself. Come to it, it's what ya' is in yore ownself, I reckon. Is ya' gonna believe in Love? In Honor? In Goodness? Iffn' ya cain't believe in love cause it may go astray on ya', then ya cain't be a lover of folks. If ya cain't believe a man can be honorable jes' fer the sake of honor, how's ya gonna be honorable yoreself?

"Worst of all, when folks doan believe in goodness, then goodness, findin' no room fer itself, leaves yore heart. After that, a body only does what they please, wif' nary a thought for the needs of others. See? Goodness, an Love an' Honor cain't make a home whar' thar' ain't no belief."

At the door Pappy Cracker an' Cuzin Nick winked, then Cuzin tossed the Cube back to Lil' Brother. The chile stared down at the puzzle.

It were a warm Christmas an thar' warn't no need to snuggle in our beds. But SugarPlum dreams came right on schedule.

Christmas Day that year were a bright shinny Floridy day. In the large foyer stood bicycles for two chillen, a doll house wif' two stories, a red radio, a Raggedy Ann, some fancy clothes, an assorted surprises.

But, missin' wuz any boy toys. None a'tall.

Amid the whoopin' of his sisters delight, Li'l Brother stood stunned. He looked around in shocked silence. His stocking hung slack next to three stockings overflowing with goodies. Tears slid down his cheeks.

Poor Granny Cracker nearly fainted wif' worry. Pappy Cracker hugged the boy, "Now Son, ya ain't really surprised is ya?"

A wail pierced the house. Sorrow an grief rained down on that happy, gift strewn foyer.

"I believe! I BELIEVE! I believe! I din't know that iffin' I din't believe in Santa that he wouldn't believe in

Pappy held that boy fer a minute an' said, "Oh I reckon Santa believes in you, alright. But mebbe he jes' din't want to upset ya none wif' his presents, seein' as how ya' wuz real shure he doan exist."

The Boy sobbed against Pappy's shirt, "I
do believe, now. I do."

Pappy loosed the Boy from his arms, tilted up his tear-ravaged face an' said, " Well, now...go sit in the livin' room until time to open our gifts, an let yore sisters enjoy their time under the tree." He done give the Chile a gentle push toward the big room to the side of the foyer. Once again Li'l Brother entered the side room, an' took his dejection to the corner of the sofa. Pappy winked at Granny.

"Oh!! Look look look look looky!!"

We ran into the livin' room to see what all the hollerin' wuz about. Thar wuz a bow wif' a quiver of suction tipped arrows, a BB gun, a pair of boots an' a fine cowboy hat. In the center of the floor wall set up was a multi storied filling station wif' cars up on ramps. The whole back corner of the livin' room were a veritable toy store of boy toys. An' hung over a chair back lay a fat, red striped stockin' overstuffed wif' every trinket an' candy delight a heart could want.

Christmas night we chillen's sank into our beds, an' a pleasant, happy stupor fell over the house. But iffin' any of y'all could peeked in Li'l Brother's room that night, y'all woulda seen all them Santa gifts lined up like soldiers at the foot of his bed. An' on the bedside table under the night light were that Rubic's Cube, its sides all perfect squares of primary colors.


LaDivaCucina said...

LOVE your story, Aunty! How precious! Me and my sister and brother "let" my dad believe that WE believed in Santa until I was about 12 or so. It was pretty funny. We ended up telling Papa that we didn't want to "hurt his feelings" by letting him know that we "knew" the truth about Santa! He laughed and told that story for years. Here all this time he was telling his friends that "he couldn't believe it, but his kids STILL believed in Santa." They would say, "No, Frank, not at their age." Dad would say, "I swear, it's true." It was pretty funny, poor Papa!

PS: After more thought, I remembered I DO stick to some Christmas traditions after all. Just feeling a little Scrooge this year. Thanks for the magical story!

Anonymous said...

Is the speech by "Cuzin Nick" allegorical?

Milk River Madman said...

What a wonderful story AB. You spin a wonderful yarn. Merry Christmas.

fishy said...

I agrees wif Madman, ya does weave a wunnerful yarn with a bit o help from Cuzin Nick.

Buzz Kill said...

My youngest (the Pudge) just stop believing last year at age 11. A bittersweet time in a childs life. You captured that well in your tale. And he still hasn't solved his Rubic's cube.

Merry Christmas to you and Uncle.

Karl said...

Merry Christmas Aunty Belle,

What you mean there's no Santa! I don't wanna hear it! La la la la la la la la

Wishing you, Uncle and all your relations a very Happy Holiday!

Jenny said...

Aww, Aunty, what a great story. I'm not sure when I stopped believing in Santa, but I know when my little brother did and Christmas became a different kind of Christmas after that.

I'm glad Buzz's boy got to 11 still believing... I often how much the Internet has "educated" children much earlier than before.

Your parents were hard core, however. WOW. I think my Mother was probably relieved to not have to leave any more cookies out for the dog to eat.

Your senitment, is lovely... don't stop believing. :-)

Merry Christmas to you and Uncle. xoxox

Caroline said...

The chilluns at my house (age 36,34,and 18) still believe, especially since one has two little 'uns of her own. They learned Brother chile's lesson a long time ago.:o)

darkfoam said...

great story!! that little he-coon of a boy would have not stood a chance against one of my 8 year old students last week. she had a long list ofvery logical and clearly thought out reasons why santa does exist. and she told me each one of them with great animation and a bright twinkle in her eyes.

i do come across the he/she-coons in the schools that i teach all the time. inevitably a sobbing child will come up to me and tell me that so and so said that santa does not exist. i just look both he/she-coon and sobbing child in the eye and tell them that i put out a stocking every year and that every year it is full with stuff . ... and apparently not by my husband either, cause he's sound asleep in the bed beside me.

moi said...

Lovely story, Aunty. I'm not sure I ever fully believed in Santa (and unlike my brother, refused to sit on his lap in the mall), but I always believed in Christmas.

Here's wishing you and yours a very merry one.

Kristen said...

I enjoyed reading that so much. Santa is such a hard thing to give up when peers let the cat out of the bag.

chickory said...

poor chile! and what a sweet christmas that mustve been. i admire the resolve of the cracker parents to do such a thing and let it take its natural course on Christmas morning. DId the girls getting their bikes and squealing over their toys even notice the poor non believer?

great christmas story. Have a blessed Christmas Aunty!

Aunty Belle said...

La DivaC!

Aw..yore Papa is a good sport. Merry Christmas, La Diva.

Troll-Man,...(St.) Nicholas means it both ways :)


Is ya snowed in? Merry Merry to you an Yores.


Nicholas makes the rounds at Christmas time, ya know.

Aunty Belle said...


Hooray fer Pudge--smarter than the average kid. The Rubic's Cube will happen.


reckon youse a swell Santa yoreself. Blessed Christmas to yore tribe.


Yes, it is different after the belief suffers. Thas' a good reason to hold on--fer me, Christmas is the perfect time to think about what I believe --an why. Merry Merry, BB!


Howdy do--welcome! Chillen's is chillen no matter how old, ain't they? Warmest wishes fer a Merry Christmas!


Uh, them coon-tempered kiddos at yore school done found a buzz saw--I luv it! Thanky fer the kind words. Hold yore babies close, Foamy.


What a moxie kid ya were. ROF!
( wouldn't sit in his lap) It ain't too late too believe in Santa--what is Santa, really, after all?

Aunty Belle said...


Welcome to the Porch--so pleased ya stopped in. Youse said it true--Santa is hard to give up, but leastways, wise ole folks figger out how to have him back--no wonder little kids hang wif' the elder elders. Merry Christmas to all yore clan!


why'd I know that wuz a story ya could roll wif'? Let thangs take their course...tough to do. Merry Merry, Chick9.

R.Powers said...

What a fine tale!
I came heah early, but Blogger said you "did not exist". That was a couple of days ago.
I believed of course and now, today, on Christmas Eve, when I clicked I got through to this wonderful post.
Sara N. Dippity is sweet on me.

Last night, while reviewing old VHS family videos with my 3 grown children sitting on the couch, a scene opened in which I am sitting on the edge of the bed, dressed in a Santa suit.It is Christmas Eve around 1993 I think.

Mrs.FC is upstairs trying to get 3 little ones to bed. I am talking to the camera and explaining that I am about to go outside so that on cue, reindeer hooves will be heard and Mrs. FC will prompt them to look out the window ... where of course they saw Santa bounding across the yard towards THEIR house with a huge sack of toys. Just a glimpse mind you, but enough ammunition to keep the rabid he-coon kids at bay for as many years as possible.

It worked so well that I caught myself fastforwarding through that clip ... what with them sitting RIGHT there last night.
23, 21, and 19 ... never too old to believe. I would not want to ruin it for them at this point.

Merry Christmas y'all.

Sharon Rudd said...

Aunty, what a lovely yarn! Wishing you a most merry Christmas (and I think you might get a chuckle out of the holiday card I've posted over at my place).