Full Circle: A Christmas Nightmare
The eve that Santa had a tracking problem 
By Maury Z. Levy

And so I was nestled snug in my bed, as visions of latkes danced through my head. It was the eve of Christmas, the first Christmas in the new house. It still had that new house smell of cheap paint and plastic slipcovers.  

I was 4 years old and I remember the dream like it was last night. Santa was on his sleigh with the reindeer pulling the load, going all around the world in one never-ending night, giving gifts to every little boy and girl who had been good that year (even the Jewish ones, my father said).  

And when he got to 5th and Jackson, his bag full of beautifully wrapped presents, gifts with giant red and green bows, he couldn’t find me. He looked all over the two-bedroom walkup that had been our home, the apartment where six people had lived in cozy comfort. But I was nowhere to be found.  

Being the kind soul that Santa was, he went downstairs to the drugstore. He asked the old man who owned it, “Have you seen Maury Levy?” 

“Oh, no,” the old man said. “They moved two months ago.”  

“Do you know where?” Santa asked. 

“How would I know,” the old man barked. “Do you know how many people live in South Philly? I can’t keep track of all of them. That’s your job.” 

“Too bad,” Santa said, “he was such a nice boy.” 

This is when I started yelling. “Santa, it’s Maury. I’m here on Calvert Street. We have a new house. Santa. Santa!” 

Read More From Maury Z. Levy Here

Why can’t people hear you in your dreams? My own screams woke me up. It was pitch black in my room, the smallest room in the house. And there was no Santa. And, so it was, there would be no Christmas for me this year. 

Facing my fate, I did what all lost little boys do. I cried like crazy. And that’s what brought my father in.  

“It’s 4 o’clock in the morning,” he said. “You’re going to wake everyone up.” 

I knew I hadn’t woken him up because he never slept. Every night, he would read the newspaper, then read a book, then listen to all-night radio on his little transistor. I was glad it was my father who heard me first. Even at 4 am, his voice was strong and steady. Unlike my mother, who screamed like a trapped cheetah.  

My father talked to me. And when that didn’t work, he sang. He was no Bing Crosby, but he got the job done. 

“Barney Google, with the goo-goo-goo-ga-ly eyes. 

Barney Google had a wife three times his size 

She stood Barney for divorce 

Now he’s living with his horse. 

Barney Google, with the goo-goo-goo-ga-ly eyes.” 

And that silly song brought a smile to my face. Every time. 

“Santa knows everything,” my father said. “He will find you. Don’t you worry.” 

When night turned to morning, I ran downstairs to see if Santa had found me. I was greeted by three large boxes, each one wrapped in the Sunday funnies, instead of wrapping paper. I guess Santa was as cheap as my father.  

I picked the biggest box and I ripped Dick Tracy to shreds.  

“O-my-god, o-my-god, o-my-god,” I yelled. It was a brand new tricycle, the coolest tricycle I had ever seen. It was bright blue and had more shiny chrome than a Cadillac Eldorado. Wow, I would be the coolest kid on the sidewalk.  

The next box would be a screaming red firetruck, with two ladders, and the loudest siren I’d ever heard. 

And the last box, that would be what every 4-year-old kid wanted. Guns. Two silver cowboy pistols with real leather holsters. Just like Hoppy, Gene and Roy. Oh boy, I hadn’t been so happy since my mother bought me new underwear. 

“It looks like Santa found you after all,” my father said.  

I smiled and shook my head. It was a Christmas miracle.

December 2018
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