December 23rd, 2010
Tom Purcell, FloydReports.com
I still wish I hadn’t peeked in the attic that year.
It was Christmas 1972 and I was 10. It was the first year when I no longer believed in Santa Claus.
Until that point, Christmas had been a magical time for me.
A few weeks after Thanksgiving, I would join with my father to pick out our tree. He’d wear his rattiest coat and work his mastery on the helpless Christmas-tree guy to knock the price down two or three bucks.
Soon, my father and I would have our giant platform in place and the tree perfectly positioned. We’d string the lights — thick old bulbs that burned fingers when touched — and head to the attic to bring down boxes of Christmas decorations.
My sisters would be called and our whole family would decorate the tree. As our stack of scratchy old Christmas records would play — as Mitch Miller, Bing Crosby and the Chipmunks would sing — our mother would make special note of old ornaments handed down from family members long gone and my sisters would show me how to hang the tinsel expertly, one strand at a time.
The sun soon would go down and the light of our Christmas-tree bulbs reflecting off the tinsel would transform our living room into a kaleidoscope — a brilliant glow of colors dancing on the walls and ceiling.
My mother, a master at building up suspense, would talk about the days ahead — church, family and the gifts Santa might bring.
We would have the sense that a real event was about to happen. And it was….