The Christmas Eve Santa Left Darlene

Avis Savre
2015 163Each Christmas Eve is a memorable holiday. During the great depression in the early 1930’s everyone was poor. One gift was all one could hope for. Dad was a carpenter as well as a farmer. One Christmas he made us toy airplanes with a moving propeller and wheels. Other years he made me a white doll wardrobe, a doll bed and doll table from scrap lumber in his shop.

My brother and I grew up on a farm. Our house had a large kitchen, dining room, and a parlor (living room to the millennials). There were double sliding doors between the dining room and parlor. There also was a door from the kitchen to the parlor. Mother would close the doors to the parlor about 4:00 PM Christmas Eve. We were told that Santa wouldn’t stop if anyone was in the parlor. What time did Santa get to north Iowa? NO ONE was to enter the parlor until after the Christmas Eve dinner.

Uncle Ed came one Christmas Eve afternoon and wanted to borrow a book. Mother allowed him to go into the parlor to get it. We children were horrified that Santa might be there. To our great relief he was not.

After the roast beef, lutefisk, lefse and all the trimmings were devoured, my brother and I, lantern in hand, were sent to the outhouse in the back yard. One does not tarry in any outhouse. In summer there were unpleasant odors and in winter frozen bottoms. But Christmas Eve we would leave the door open and scour the sky hoping to see Santa land his reindeer and sleigh full of gifts on the roof. When our little “cheeks” were freezing we would run back to the house.

2 Doll Buggy (1)

Everyone was now waiting for us in the parlor. There in the doll buggy sat beautiful Darlene, a large tin type doll with painted face and hair. It was so thrilling.

Darlene was perfect, unlike my old doll, the one I called Dimple Jane. Jane was a plaster doll with a nickel sized chunk missing from her left cheek from a fall off a chair.

As beautiful as Darlene looked, after a few days I discovered Darlene was not as soft and comfy as my beloved Dimple Jane who from then on got much more attention than the new doll. This proves that the warm soft and familiar things that we loved are more cherished than the new, beautiful, and cold.

Does this also prove that beauty is only skin deep?