When I was a kid we used to go to New Jersey to visit my grandmother for the holidays. This usually took place in November for Thanksgiving but to me it felt more like a Christmas. It was a very long drive to Toms River New Jersey followed by a lot of adults sitting around talking. Us kids would eventually head down to the basement to try and find something to watch on grandpa’s old 3 channel- no remote TV. For a kid there was a lot of boredom at that time of year but that all changed when we would load up the station wagon and head over to Macy’s. As we arrived the parking lot would be full of families all looking up at the sky. They were waiting to hear the old familiar buzz of that single engine Cessna as it sputtered through the cold gray November sky.
It seemed to take forever but eventually it would appear and the crowd would suddenly come to life. As the tiny plane drew closer the anticipation grew until finally it bagan circling the parking lot. Kids and parents would shout and cheer as they pointing toward the sky. Then in a brief moment a tiny red shape would separate from the fuselage plummeting toward the ground. A hush would fill the chilly air as a trail of billowing marker smoke bloomed from behind the shape. IT’S SANTA!!!, the crowd would erupt into cheers.
Soon a parachute would appear and Santa would glide slowly toward earth slowly zigzagging lazy circles across the cold gray New Jersey sky. The crowd would hush again for a brief moment as Santa aimed for his mark. Eventually he would make his landing hitting his mark as always. The crowd would go crazy as tiny candy canes and peppermint swirls flew into the air, quickly snatched up by the lucky few close enough to reach them. Santa would run through the parking lot shouting his Ho, Ho, Ho’s and Merry Christmas’s then quickly duck into to an old nearby beat up van that sped off, rushing him to the North Pole so he could get ready for Christmas.
Our family would eventually pile back into the old Ford Country Squire wagon, kids all pumped up on parachuting Santa and the promise of Christmas right around the corner. Eventually we’d wind up back in the basement watching the three channel TV waiting for the magical night Santa would slide down the chimney to deliver his toys to good girls and boys.