One of the nicer traditions I’ve heard that people have concocted for Christmas is one I’d like to relate now. Several years ago, the Geezer and Mrs. G lived in a neighborhood that never saw snow at Christmas. In fact, it never saw snow at all. Oh, maybe in some very unusual condition…never isn’t a good word to use. South central Florida may see a few flakes every so many years, but… It was at a friendly family neighborhood get-together this tradition was born.
Most of its residents gathered for a party at the house of one of its season’s celebrators. Dishes of all kinds of food and treats lined tables. Toddlers and children filled the swimming pool under the watchful eye of three high school girls who volunteered for that purpose. High schoolers played basketball in the driveway. The adults laughed at each other’s jokes as they consumed as much Christmas spirit as they shared. It was midway through the gaiety that one of the seven-year-olds, accompanied by two Santa believers, demanded the answer to a question. To the clink of cocktail glasses he demanded. “Daddy, you always said we couldn’t see Santa, but we would know he came because we could see his reindeer’s tracks in the snow. There isn’t any snow here. How will we know he really came to our house?”
The adults stared at each other. A family concoction to explain Santa’s supply line had developed a flat tire. There were several “ummms” and “ahhhs” until one man said, “That’s simple. Just listen for the bells. Santa has bells on his sleigh and on the deer. Just listen and you’ll hear them when he comes.” A sigh of relief burst from the collection of moms and dads as one prevarication obscured another. The young believers would be sleeping soundly. Every adult would swear he’d heard Santa’s bells during the night. After the placated children returned to splashing in the pool, a concerned mom asked, “That was good Bob, but what if one stays awake to see if you were lying?”
“Oh, I wasn’t. Santa’s sleigh has bells. You just have to believe and listen for them.” All were satisfied.
Mrs. G heard them first. Jing, jing, jing. jing. At first, it was barely audible. The Grandfather clock in our house’s hall intertwined its twelve midnight ‘bongs’ with the jing-a-lings from what were clearly bells. The Geezer and Mrs. G sprang from the bed to see what made the clatter. As the peered out the window, lights went on in other windows as people woke to see what was the matter. The Geezer smiled and pronounced, “Merry Christmas, it’s jogger bells.” As long as we lived in the neighborhood we enjoyed and treasured the tradition. It made children believe. It made adults warm their hearts several degrees.
Even today, 50 years after, Mrs. G listens for the bells and hopes. Let’s all begin to enjoy the season.