Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Empty Santa

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by
 Two Writing Teachers.
"Because the way you grow old is kind of like an onion or like the rings inside a tree trunk or like my little wooden dolls that fit one inside the other, each year inside the next one. "  
- from the short story "Eleven" by Sandra Cisnernos
My little wooden dolls grow ever larger year by year, each with each its own precious memories. Today I reach back to a share a memory of my fifth Christmas.

I wrote this poem when I was teaching 7th and 8th grade English in Tulsa at Monte Cassino School (1982 –84).  When I asked my students to write, I would also write and this remembrance of a special Christmas was the result of one of those assignments.  My mother's church friends became our secret elves that year.  


It was Christmas, different from any before.
Mom was recovering from a heart attack.

There were no bustling trips to town for Christmas gifts. 
Money was scarce and hospital bills high
in our family of five:                                       
big sister – 14,
big brother – 8,
and me – 5. 
Home wasn’t filled with traditional smells of Christmas baking.
Yet we were happy, Mom was with us. 

Then one day the magic came. 
Our barren tree was laden with gifts. 
Big brother and I danced with glee. 
There were gifts for everyone. 
We could scarcely wait for Christmas morn. 

One box I remember in particular.
A round oatmeal box decorated to look like Santa
And filled with homemade cookies.
The lid just lifted off, wasn’t even taped. 

I don’t remember too much of that Christmas morn. 
Big brother got cars.
I got crocheted house shoes.
And everyone got
An empty Santa!
           - Ramona Scifres Behnke

Have a very Merry Christmas/Happy Holiday and enjoy exploring your wooden dolls that fit one inside the other.  


  1. So many slices about special memories today. I will think of this story when I look at the oatmeal box. Thank goodness for special friends in times of need. I am sure you have paid that forward many times. Have a Merry Christmas!

  2. This really shows the true meaning of Christmas. As Leigh Anne said, I am sure you have paid this forward multiple times. Merry Christmas.

  3. This is really what the season is all about - being mindful of those we have in our lives, and how important that love is. Merry Christmas, Ramona!

  4. It's a good memory to re-visit, isn't it? Have a wonderful Christmas, Ramona.

  5. Loved getting to this slice today. It's so special that you have the memories and the poetry written about the memories! Have a wonderful new Christmas for a new poem to share with us.

  6. Now that's the Christmas spirit! What a special memory. I hope your Christmas will be filled with joy and cookies!