Tony was feeling very satisfied with himself. Father Christmas had delivered a brand new blue bicycle with white racing stripes and he was determined to put it through its paces now Dad was there to guide him.
Well he had his doubts about Father Christmas but it was a transitional age where glamor of a man in a red suit who somehow came down a chimney the size of an average drain pipe was to be checked out against the possibility of that happening.
Of course the customary biscuit and soft drink offering carefully placed on the dining room table on Christmas Eve had been consumed when they looked next morning which did raise questions didn’t it? Logic said it couldn’t possibly happen, but the evidence was there on Christmas morning with an empty plate and glass. How could that happen if it weren’t true?
It was one of those mysteries companion to another one he struggled with at that age. His baby sister had arrived just months back and he’d spent time waiting at the cabbage patch behind a nursing home as Father had commanded. He was to watch for the stork’s arrival and rush in to deliver the news the baby had arrived.
Then to Tony’s surprise and disappointment he was informed after a long wait a baby sister had arrived in the nursing home. This mystery had been shared with his elementary school friends who corrected him with the confidence of a college professor and delivered an anatomy lesson which was just as surprising as the stork story. Not having had an elder brother Tony had not been privy to such information. Tony was beginning to doubt some of those stories parents traditionally hand down tongue in cheek.
There was another disturbing reality to be confronted by a young and impressionable mind. For one week before Christmas there’d been a wrapped parcel hidden behind boxes in the garage looking suspiciously like a bicycle. Tony liked to inspect each item in the garage. There were carpentry and mechanic tools and an assortment of boxes containing items from a past era he was not familiar with. The gramophone with its huge horn and turntable was a thing of wonder and he’d return frequently to try and understand its use. The bicycle shaped parcel had been hidden behind the box that contained that strange contraption.
Soon after a pre-dawn raid on the pregnant pillowcase at the end of the bed a game of feel and guess had begun. What presents had been delivered by reindeer this year in the pillow cases? Turning on the light would wake little brother and probably Mom and Dad who’d reacted badly the previous year when a discovered drum had been tried out in the wee hours of the morning.
So it was prudent to wait until the sun began to peep through the window at objects now laid out on the bed. In the meantime it was natural to show some curiosity about what little brother had received in his equally bulging pillow. However tiptoeing over to the bed on the other side of the room led to a discovery little brother was ahead of Tony and was sitting silently and majestically among his dark shaped objects waiting for the sun to peep too.
Returning disappointed to his bed feeling his way in the dark Tony stubbed his toe on a metal object at the foot of his bed. His outreached hand felt a wheel, then up to a handle bar with bell. There he lingered momentarily with finger on the bell button. But before he pressed that button he thought of the result of beating that drum the previous year in the dark of early morning. His hand felt down the frame to a pedal and an unsuppressed cry of pleasure broke loose.
He froze and turned to look at the door fully expecting Dad to appear around the corner and memories of last year returned in vivid detail. The drum had been confiscated until after breakfast when long suffering parents turned it loose again.
“Get back to bed, Dad’s coming!” hissed Tony to little brother who’d joined him at the foot of his bed after that whoop of joy.
Both boys bolted for their beds and pulled sheets up to their eyes pretending to be asleep. But the halls of the house remained silent. After several minutes elapsed both boys were out of bed inspecting each other’s loot. Some things were obvious and they were laid aside lovingly in the solved spot on each bed while the remainder were silently contemplated with occasional trips to the window to wish a welcome to morning rays of the sun. And because of that earnest wish the sun relented and cast its light on unsolved packages.
Tony hastily removed wrappings and laid his presents in a neat line in order of preference, then went to inspect his bike. It was beautiful! He smelled the newness of the rubber tires and tested the handle bar brakes watching as rubber brake pads gripped and un-gripped wheels. He moved the bicycle rest lever up and down then noticed the black headlight, with wires that led down to a dynamo attached to the back wheel. There were mudflaps attached to mud guards and reflectors on the back for night riding. He was beside himself with joy.
Just then voices at the door caught his attention.
“Well, what did Father Christmas bring you this year?” Dad boomed giving his customary laugh. Mom moved into the room and sat on little brother’s bed.
“What do we have here?” she said pointing at all the presents on beds and wrappings on the floor.
Tony and his brother babbled their excitement while both parents laughed happily.
“Looks like Santa bought you a bike this year?
Tony looked at his father suspiciously. “I saw a bike wrapped up in the garage he exclaimed.”
Father looked surprised. “Really? I hadn’t noticed anything new in the garage. Where was it?
“Behind the thing with a big horn that makes music? Tony smiled the smile of someone privy to a discovered secret.
“Well we need to take a look at that, let’s go see this package that looks like a bicycle!” Tony’s father headed for the door with his son trailing along wearing a knowing smile.
Father hummed a Christmas song as he opened the door to the garage and stepped inside. He began looking in different corners.
“No here,” shouted Tony as he took his Father’s hand and marched him to the gramophone.
“There!” Tony gasped in surprise. It was still there.
Father calmly removed the cardboard packing all wrapped and sealed with string. He cut the string and looked inside. It was stuffed with rubber coils from his tire re-treading industry.
“I wondered where these coils had got to!” Father shook his head in mock surprise.
“Then where did my bike come from, I thought it was wrapped up here behind the gramophone?” Said Tony weakly.
Father smiled. “I’ve always wondered how Santa got big things like a bike down through a small chimney.”
“Me to!” Said little brother who’d just joined them in the garage.
Tony went through the garage door and stood at the front gate looking at the roof of their home for a long time.
Then he rushed back to the bedroom to bring his new bike out to the street while Father watched him try for the first time to mount his prized possession.
Father winked at Mom who suppressed a giggle. “Just as well you alerted me Tony had been fossicking in the garage.”
“Here, let me help you son.” He said kindly helping Tony mount the bike.
“© Copyright Ian Grice 2015 All rights reserved”