"I've been to the North Pole and seen Santa, his elves, and even the reindeer!"
This is a boast I made to anyone who would listen during my early childhood years. I had memories of candy cane lined streets, workshops filled with elves, hot chocolate, and even a visit with the big man himself. I even have proof, because I've found pictures of me sitting on Santa's lap and one of myself standing by a giant striped candy cane. Was I a lucky kid or what? My parents obviously thought so highly of me that they booked a trip straight to the North Pole when I asked them where Santa lived and if I could go visit.
I believed myself to be a world traveler. I remember feeling very proud of myself when my friends eyes would grow large as they asked me just what the North Pole really looked like. They always wanted to know how much snow there was and how cold it was and if the reindeer did a little flying demonstration for me. I'd always answer, straight from my young memory, that I didn't remember the snow. Actually, I thought it was kind of warm the day I visited, but there was plenty of white powdery stuff sprinkled on the rooftops of the village. The reindeer, were just munching on same hay, and really just looked like deer with big antlers. I assured them the magic must happen on Christmas Eve, but of course you can't visit then because Santa is way to busy!
It wasn't until I was older, much older, that I realized I hadn't been to the North Pole at all. I'm thinking the conversation went a little like this:
"So how old was I when we went to the North Pole?" I asked my parents.
"North Pole?" Mom asked looking at me strangely.
"You know. When we went to see Santa, the elves, the reindeer..."I prodded.
"Oh, the North Pole!" Dad exclaimed, nodding his head in remembrance.
"Yeah, so when was that exactly?" I watched as my parents looked at one another.
"That was back when I was helping Santa with some HR problems he was having with his elves.." responded my Dad about to launch into one of his stories.
"Spencer", my Mom looked at my Dad with the look that told us that he was full of bull. He got that look often.
"Honey, that was Santa Claus, Indiana, not the North Pole." Gently she patted my shoulder and smiled.
Oh, horrors upon horrors. My whole childhood was a lie. Okay, just this one itsy, bitsy, tiny part. But, geez, the disillusionment. I could have been scarred for life. Lucky for me I was a resilient child.
Have I told you the story about overhearing my parents plans to take us to Paris?
Paris, Texas that is...