MY CHRISTMAS CAR
Santa Claus never brought me a car.
I wanted a car but apparently it wouldn't fit in Santa's sled. Understand that I'm not talking about a toy car. I'm talking about a real car.
I told my parents it was all right with me if Santa couldn't get it down the chimney. Just tell him to park it at the curb and I'd take it from there.
I was five years old.
Every holiday season, automobile dealers run commercials that show people getting new cars for Christmas. Usually, the car is parked in the driveway with a big bow on it. We see smiling faces, women's faces. Apparently women get more cars for Christmas than men do.
Here’s a suggestion. Get that special man in your life a brand new car. Men and cars are really one species. The creation of the car was one of the most significant in the long history of what men love.
When I was young, I'd go out in the garage and get behind the wheel of my father's car. Then I'd imagine all kinds of cool things. I'd turn the wheel and make the sounds of squealing tires and the roar of the motor. I'd pretend I was on a curvy mountain road getting away from bad guys. I'd lean back in the seat and cruise for hours. To me, the car was the most practical and magical thing in my universe. To have one of my own at age five would be like my sister getting a pony for Christmas.
I told Santa when I sat on his lap in a store in downtown Minneapolis that he could forget all the toys and stocking stuffers and all the other unnecessary side dishes and focus on just one thing. A real car. Not a toy. A car. It could be any make or model but it had to be new. Not old. I wanted a car that hadn't been driven so that each mile on the odometer was put on there by me.
I understood his reluctance. Cramming a real car into his sleigh was a tough order. But he was Santa Claus and I figured he could bring the car by, drop it off in front of the house then go get his toys and make Christmas happen. Meanwhile, I’d be driving around in my new car.
Santa never brought me the car. But that’s okay. I figured it was a grownup thing that only grownups did for each other. That’s why I got toy cars instead of the real thing. Santa was sending me a signal that if he could he would.