By DAVE KIFFER
December 29, 2008
The Tooth Fairy visited our house a couple of weeks ago.
My seven year old lost a tooth and dutifully placed it in a baggie under his pillow. This has happened several times in the past and each morning he awakes and finds the money that the Tooth Fairy has left behind.
It's a good system. It's been working for generations in our family.
But not this time.
As usual, I snuck into his room early in the morning but it was a little too dark to see and he was obviously on the wrong side of the pillow for an easy transfer of the money/tooth. I went back out into the hall and turned on a light and stealthily snuck back in and effected the transfer.
Or so I thought.
The next morning Liam was very upset and told his mother that "Daddy" had "turned on a light" and snuck in and replaced the tooth.
She quickly told him that we had gotten an urgent message from the Tooth Fairy and that Daddy was asked by the TF to get the tooth.
He was pretty skeptical, but at that age you still at least want "to believe" so he toddled off to school. It also had to help that since Daddy didn't have any small bills in his wallet, the "tooth fairy" had left him $10!
That afternoon, I got on the computer and created a gmail account from the "Tooth Fairy" and sent us the following email.
"Dear Kiffer Family,
Please put $10 for me under Liam's pillow. I can not make it to Alaska tonight because there was a really, really, really big youth hockey tournament in Canada today and I am having to pick up hundreds of teeth. I promise to be there next time.
The Tooth Fairy.
Liam seemed genuinely surprised and pleased to see the email that afternoon. Fortunately, he didn't notice the time it was sent was several hours after the "tooth fairy" had visited!
It was a bit of work on my part to keep the "dream" alive, but then my parents once went to a lot of trouble for me in a similar situation (see below).
I suppose this is probably the last year that he will "believe" in such things. He has already started to question the reality of Santa Claus. He has also learned to start sneaking through the household closets looking for surreptitiously stowed gifts.
I'm not sure if he really still believes about Santa or whether he is just pretending to make us happy.
He does cheerfully note that the all the "Santas" he sees around town before Christmas are "helpers."
"The real Santa is back home sleeping," he says, apparently sincerely. "He has to sleep a lot now so he'll be able to stay awake on Christmas to deliver the presents."
OK. Sure thing.
Once upon a time, my family used to have really big Christmas Eve parties at our house. Anywhere from 25 to 50 people would come by for a big Spaghetti or Mexican food dinner and a lot of "hot toddies" and spiced eggnog. Every year, "Santa" would make an appearance bringing a big bag of presents for the kids.
Sometime around my 6th birthday, it occurred to me that right before Santa arrived either my father or my oldest brother would make a big show of having to leave the party to "check on the boat" at Bar Harbor.
Then Santa would arrive. Later Dad or Brother Ken would come back and I would tell them how sorry I was that they "missed" Santa.
So, I proudly announced one year that I knew that they were pretending to be Santa Claus. My parents vociferously disagreed.
The next Christmas Eve, we were all enjoying our post dinner burp around. It was just about 8 pm, the time that "Santa" traditionally arrived.
I went over to my Dad.
"Don't you have to go check on the boat?" I asked.
He pretended not to hear me.
I went over to my brother.
"Don't you have to check on the boat?" I repeated.
He smiled and shook his head.
Just then, a "clatter" arose in the front yard.
I ran to the window and "Santa Claus" walking toward our basement door.
I was stunned.
I looked back at my parents and they just smiled.
"Ho, ho, ho," I heard the Jolly Old Elf shout.
I had been wrong!
But then everything changed.
"Santa" had not been apprised that the snow in the yard was covering a new drainage ditch from our basement. Suddenly, he pitched forward, spilling his sack of presents and himself all over the ditch.
"Ho, Ho, Hoooooooooo!" he exclaimed.
Then he exclaimed some more.
Something along the lines of "$%##&%$@! Why didn't that #$%$@#$%$ Kiffer tell me about the #@$$%@#%$ ditch?"
He got up, dusted himself off and came inside holding the presents in his arms because the sack had busted.
I wasn't thrilled about sitting in his now wet, dirty lap. Especially since his aftershave smelled an awful lot like the "Jim Beam" that was a favorite of my father's and his co-workers out at "the pond" at the Pulp Mill.
Anyway, that was the last time that I believed that Santa Claus came to our house on Christmas Eve.
The next year, my older brother "did the honors" again.
He may not have known who was "naughty" or "nice," but at least he knew where the drainage ditch was.
Contact Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org
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