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Stories, Poems and Humor
Left Book Terrified by Santa Claus
by Ralph, LeAnn R.
Right Book

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Language: English

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Mike Flynn, a local man of Irish heritage, was known as a "character." For many years, he worked as a custodian at the school in town. He was a jaunty, lively man who was well-known and well-loved. He death, at around 90 years of age, was mourned by many.

I never did attend the country school at Norton myself - almost, but not quite.

The spring before I started kindergarten at the brand new elementary school in town, I did, however, visit the Norton school for one day.

I don't remember too much about that one brief day at a country school. I think it may even have been only a half day.

But one strong, vivid memory I retain of the Norton School originates from an earlier period. I remember being scared out of my wits by Santa Claus.

When I was a very little girl, prekindergarten, I went to the Norton school with my mother and sister to watch the Christmas program. And part of the festivities included a visit by Santa Claus. I was probably only three or four at the time.

As I watched Santa Claus going around the room, speaking to other children while he handed out candy, I grew more and more terrified - dreading the moment when Santa would stop and talk to me.

My terror had grown to alarming proportions by the time Santa reached our section of the room. Santa must have been a wise man because he seemed to sense my extreme fright. (I don't think I cried or screamed. But I suppose the alternating expressions on my face of fear, horror, dread, dismay, alarm and anxiety gave Santa the clue he needed.)

At any rate, Santa merely handed me some candy, and then he went on to the next child.

I clearly remember the immense feeling of relief when the encounter was finally over.

Presumably, the next child was someone with whom Santa could laugh and joke without the threat of that child screaming bloody murder at the top of her lungs if he got too close.

The vivid memory of being frightened by Santa Claus stayed with me. Years later, my mother told me Mike Flynn had played Santa Claus at the Norton school when I was a little kid.

As a student at Colfax Elementary, I saw Mike every now and again as he worked around the school. He was always full of fun and jokes. And on several occasions, I remember Mike and his shillelagh made visits to our classroom on St. Patrick's Day.

I decided I must have been a pretty dumb little kid to be so afraid of Mike Flynn dressed up in a Santa suit. But then again, I WAS only three or four years old when I suffered from Santa terror.

As an adult, I can laugh at myself for being afraid of Santa Claus.

However, it seems I am not alone in my fear of Santa. My sister says she, too, remembers being afraid of Santa Claus during Christmas programs at the Norton school. And she says her children never wanted to stop to see Santa at the mall, either, when they were little. Her children, she says, abruptly stated they did NOT wish to speak with Santa as they grabbed her by the hand and hurried past.

And yet, as unreasonable as it may seen now, I wish at some point in my life I could have apologized to Mike Flynn for being afraid of him when he played Santa Claus.

Mike played the part so well - a jovial character radiating energetic good cheer.

So - Merry Christmas, Mike Flynn - and Ho! Ho! Ho! But please be careful you don't frighten the little angels if St. Peter ever asks you to play the role of Santa.

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