Wilder's Whole World: Christmas

By Dwayne Wilder
Special to the Herald Democrat

If you are reading this now, it must be the day after Christmas in our fair land.

For me, it is a time of reflection on the day passed. I spend a few minutes rejoicing in the most recent Christmas time, but inevitably, my mind begins to wander (it tends to do this with regularity) in the direction of Christmas past. I will admit that most of my adult Christmas experiences are mundane. It has to be because when you are young, Christmas is so new to you. By the time you are in your 20s or 30s, it is old hat to you.

Usually, you are busy making it special for someone else…I don’t know…like your own children!

Growing up, I don’t remember much about Christmas Day my first four or five years. I have seen the home movies. These would be the videos of the 1960s. And, I have seen them countless times—they are actually o video now. 

But from age 6 or so, I have some great memories from each year for about 10 years. We got a dog one year; that first silver tree stands out to me; dressing up for the day (visiting relatives in the 60s was a big deal!); rushing out of my room door to see what Santa brought; my first comic book order by mail; and singing carols with 100 people (my father’s relatives) on Christmas Eve.

But the one memory that stands out is that Christmas Eve night when I was eight or nine years old. You see, I was JUST beginning (don’t ask) to think maybe-just maybe-Santa was a made-up construct for children to keep them well-behaved. I had had discussions with my parents and siblings all that Christmas season about the validity of good ol’ Saint Nick. My parents could tell I was losing that ‘magic’ of not only Christmas, but of childhood as well.

I never got a straight answer (even as an adult years later), but my parents swore up and down they had nothing to do with what happened that fateful night in Sherman, Texas. And there is only one reason why I might believe them (even today-over 50 years later): What I saw in the doorway of that bedroom that night wasn’t human; for lack of a better term: it was a spirit. Or it was in ‘spirit-form’ or something not of this world.

The boys and the girls in our family at this time had separate rooms, but on that one night every year, we had to sleep in the same room. I don’t know; maybe, my parents wanted to know where we all were during that all important Christmas Eve night, but anyway, that’s where we were. I got a bed to myself being the eldest with the other four having to make do with the other bed and sleeping bags and such. It was in the wee hours of the morning when I was awoken – which didn’t happen much to me as a child – to a low whispering voice.

My eyes automatically went to that direction – the door frame to the hallway – only to see this apparition floating. I know that it wasn’t on the floor because of the angle. And there is no doubt what it looked like—He was SANTA CLAUS! White beard, red suit and a large bag with black boots to boot! I couldn’t understand what was being said, but he seemed to be directed at me. I don’t think anyone else was awakened. I laid there for a moment; astounded. Finally, I had the courage to get up, but he had vanished. I ran into the hall, yet only darkness greeted me in both directions. My parent’s room was dark, the living room – where the tree was – dark as well. The silence was deafening. I stained to hear anything; but only the truckers on the highway outside were noticeable. I went back to bed; the entire thing had taken maybe 15-20 seconds, but it had a profound effect on me. Was it a dream? Was it my Dad? I still don't know...

Of course, I asked everyone the next morning about it (after the Christmas festivities). No one – parents included – had a clue about any low voice or floating figure. I spent days contemplating what I had seen and what it meant – if anything. I finally decided that it would be all right to believe in Santa a little longer. In fact, I was good until age 12 when I had another discussion with my parents. By then, childhood was over; and I was coming-of-age.

I hope your recent Christmas past was memorable; and I wish that your Christmas future is just as great! 

Dwayne Wilder

Dwayne Wilder is a Sherman native who currently lives in Denison. Wilder’s Whole World is his commentary about life in Texoma and the world. Wilder can be reached at cmandad17@gmail.com. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.