BOWEN COLUMN: Santa Claus is coming to town

Published 10:30 am Thursday, December 22, 2022

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Well, by the time this column hits your mighty-well-lit and finely-decorated front porch Christmas will be in full swing. I never get to this place without some healthy December cravings. I had this powerful urge for some hot chocolate with marshmallows just this morning, and I usually want it with whip cream half a foot high, the way the friendly waitress fixed it for me one morning up in the Smokies a few years ago. She had all the other guests oohhing and ahhhing at how high the whipped cream was. That’s how you do Christmas, I thought.

 And I’ve had this urge for some of that seasonal hot and spicy apple cider. I think they’re now fancying up the name and calling it “Wassail” or something – but call it what you want, I can smell it right now all the way from last December.  As soon as it warms up, I’m goin’ to build a fire, prop my feet up, and watch “Home Alone” again.

And just today I was wishing “It’s a Wonderful Life” would come on, too.  In my daydreams I’ve even been thinking about certain toys that made their way under the tree in my growing-up years: slinkies — never had a Christmas growing up without a slinky! — toy train sets, and bicycles with streamers in the handlebars.

And B.B. guns.

Could we go back there again, just for a moment? Well, maybe we just did.

Whenever my heart’s radar starts picking up Santa as it’s doing right now, I always think about my big brother Wayne. He’s the one who – back when I was about nine – foolishly tried to tell me there’s no Santa Claus. I’m still laughing at that one. Just ask my granddaughter “Pretty Eyes.” She just turned fourteen at this writing, and I still haven’t heard her say she doesn’t believe in it all. Regardless, she still likes Frosty, Rudolph, the chipmunks, and the Grinch.

And speaking of the Grinch, even he can’t avoid a chill down the spine when he hears, “Away in a manger, no crib for a bed. The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head …”

Or … “Silver bells … silver bells … it’s Christmas time, in the city …”

And everybody is glad they still can hear and read about the little babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and the manger, and the shepherds keeping their flocks in the field, and the angels streaming down from heaven with this great announcement: “…I bring you good tidings of great joy … to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

So, let’s start right now, if you haven’t already: Let’s slow down just a bit. Let’s fix a smooth, marshmallowy cup of hot chocolate. Let’s sit by the fireplace in our housecoat and slippers and flip through the TV ‘til we run across a movie starring Mr. Jimmy Stewart or that little redheaded fella who’s home all alone, again. Let’s listen for those sleigh-bells ringing a joyful tune in the air. Let’s get in the spirit now, because, you know it’s true:

Santa Claus’s comin’ to town!