Finding Moon Boots

Merry Christmas, all! I hope that you and yours are well. Geralyn and I are spending Xmas in California this year instead of going to either Tulsa or St. Louis as we normally do. Ger’s parents came over to visit us, though, so we’re having a good time. Earlier today we unwrapped presents under the tree and drank alcohol-free mimosas (with the pregnancy an all; normally we booze it up).
No presents from Santa this year, but there probably will be in a year or two once Samantha is old enough to start living the lie about the magical fat man in the red and white suit.
I don’t actually remember how old I was when I figured out there was no Santa, but I remember how it happened. I wanted very badly to get a pair of “Moon Boots“, which were these humongous, kludgy snowboots made mostly of rubber and foam. Some of my friends had them, and I thought they were awesome. Even the heavy Oklahoma winter snows we had been getting that year would be NO MATCH for a boy properly equipped with these babies. STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP! I’d crush the white stuff beneath my feet, leaving only a trail of flattened snow imprinted with the boots’ zigzagging logo.
I had made sure that the Santas at both Woodland Hills Mall and Southroads Mall damn well knew that I desired this greatest of all footwear. The fat man had his orders, I told my parents. The Moon Boots would be mine.
Being the little bastard I was, I always hunted for my presents before Christmas. While my parents preoccupied elsewhere, I crawled through my Dad’s closet looking for hidden treasure. But in this case, it was booty in boot form that I found. Tucked behind long coats and other shoe boxes, I found a pair of kid-sized Moon Boots, resplendent in their blur rubber and crinkly silver piping.
It initially confused me that the boots were here instead of still on Santa’s sleigh, but I reasoned that my parents had decided to buy them for me (we often got presents from both my parents and Santa; I was a lucky kid) and that I would receive some other gift from the generous holiday elf. No problemo, I thought, carefully rearranging the shoe box so as to leave no evidence of my trespass.
Christmas morning came, and I grabbed the brightly wrapped, shoebox-sized gift first. I was getting ready to rip into it, then noticed something that gave me pause. It was the little March of Dimes gift tag, which read:
Merry Christmas!
To: Jamie
From: Santa
That was odd, given that I had found the boots in my Dad’s closet. A few fistfuls of shredded wrapping paper revealed that I wasn’t mistaken, and that these were indeed the Moon Boots I had pined for during most of November and December.
I managed to look surprised and elated (and I was indeed still happy to get them), but I was troubled by the gift tag. Later in the day, I walked up to my mother with the boots and asked, “Mom, did you get me these or did Santa?”
My mother, who apparently kept track of such things, replied, “Santa did.”
And that when I figured it out. Actually, I had probably figured it out right when I opened the shoebox and smelled the rubber and plastic (which oddly enough reminded me of how beach balls smell), but her little white lie forced me to admit it.
I never told my parents about my yuletide epiphany, instead choosing to drop hints the next year and saying that that Santa stuff “was just for kids.” They got the message and went along with it. I intend to revive the fantasy for my own daughter, because it’s magical and will make her happy. She’ll have enough ugly reality to live with eventually, so I think she’ll deserve a little wonder and fantasy at the beginning of her trek through life. I’ll only get concerned if she’s still buying into it at 25. I doubt that’ll happen, though, and I wonder how she’ll eventually find Moon Boots of her own.

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