Since there is so much snow already and I live on the side of a hill, a bunch of kids have been sleigh riding (or "riding downhill" as we always called it) in between my house and the neighbor's for much of today. It's a great hill for sledding. Rudy barked (really howled, he throws his head back and really gets into it) at them on and off, but he doesn't have the stamina or desire to do it all day, the way Sophie did at the backhoe over the weekend. I watched them for a while, considering the idea of buying a cheap sled and giving it a try myself. We have lived here for more than 15 years and I have yet to take a winter ride down the hill.
In today's Ann Landers column, the subject was telling kids the truth about Santa, and "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" was reprinted. How magical it was to believe in Santa, to run downstairs on Christmas morning and see that he had been there. I faked believing for years after I knew the truth, because I was the youngest, and I didn't wanted to disappoint my family. They so enjoyed playing Santa. When I turned 40 last year, my sister told me that having a sister who was still in the 30s made her young, too, and I guess the Santa thing is the same idea. I remember a big cartoon-ish charcoal footprint drawn on the hearth of our fireplace, with some ashes scattered around it. And I recall asking for some toy and getting a harmonica instead. There was a note tucked inside. It said Santa knew it wasn't what I had requested, but he felt I might like learning to play the harmonica better. I did try to play it, although I never became very good. I still have that harmonica. I even have the box it came in. But I can't remember for which toy it substituted.