It was one of those cold, clear Christmas Eves. There was about six inches of new snow, and it was starting to drift in the yard and the back woods. My wife, myself, and our seven children had moved to this part of Michiganís thumb just eleven months before. Our younger children were really concerned about Santa being able to find us. But we assured them he would.

Our Christmas Eve tradition was, Church in the evening, home for snacks, then we allowed the kids to open the presents they got from their grandparents. They would wait for Christmas morning to open the rest of their gifts and what they got from Santa.

It was always quite a chore getting seven kids to bed, and this night was no exception. The kids finally got to sleep around one AM. Santa always got to our house late. As Santaís good helper, I hid all the presents up in our unfinished, unfloored attic. So now it was time for me to bring down all the gifts. I put a pair of red sweat pants over my pajamas and slipped on a pair of back pull over boots. It was cold in our garage.

Our attic was only accessible by a stairway in the garage. There were no lights up there so I had to use a trouble light that had to be plugged into an outlet in the garage.

I had my arms loaded with gifts when this light chose to burn out. As I turned to face the door my wet boot slipped off the rafter. There was a loud crash and my foot went right though the kitchen ceiling. And low and behold there I was spread-eagled with my booted foot dangling over the kitchen stove.

Of course the noise was so loud it woke the whole family. What they saw, as they rushed out of their rooms, was their mother laughing like crazy trying to push Santaís boot back up though the ceiling. Our youngest daughter Teri was eight at the time and she was the one who was worried about Santa finding us. She was at that age where all the older kids had told her there was no Santa, and she didnít want to believe it. I am told when she ran out of her bedroom and saw what happened her eyes got as big as saucers and she put her hands up to her mouth. I am sure she had no idea on what she was seeing.

My wife finally got all the kids back to bed and I finally got loose. I finished putting the presents out and then had to clean up the mess. I donít think I got to bed much before six that morning. To this day the kids refer to the Christmas of 1971 as the year Santa fell though the roof.

© By Jack Long (







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