It was 1945. Christmas time. WWII was over and the US military was rushing to get all the soldiers and sailors home for Christmas. My father was a lucky one. My mom's sisters' husbands had also survived the war and we all met for our first Christmas together at my grandparents' farm in Scott County, Kentucky, not far from Georgetown.

The old farmhouse was full of family, and the shuffle was on to find sleeping facilities for more people than there were beds. I didn't mind being assigned to the living room couch, because that's where the Christmas tree was. It was surrounded by wrapped presents for everyone, some of which I was told had my name on them. i was also told a fellow named Santa Claus would somehow enter the house while I slept and leave even more goodies. It sounded too good to be true. Santa was supposed to come down the chimney which in my Pawpaw's house ended in a coal stove. Santa must be crazy. How am I going to sleep knowing the old fellow may be incinerated right in the same room where i was?  It sounded a little creepy, but mostly I was afraid he would just pass our house without a visit.

The couch that was my bed was set just under a tall curtain-less window. As I lie there trying to picture the man trying to squeeze down a 12 inch wide smoke stack, I saw something in the clear night sky that looked like this:

The Annual Perseid Meteor Shower
Getty Images

It looked like a piece of the sky had fallen. Mother and my aunts were up and bustling around, so I called for mom and told her what I'd seen. She sat down on the couch next to me and said, "What you just saw was Santa Claus. He has to deliver toys to girls and boys all over the world in one night. That means he has to travel very fast to get to everyone. Most people never get to see him at all, but you got a quick glimpse of him. That makes you very special. I know you're wondering how he's going to get down the chimney since we don't really have one, but as you just saw, he's magic. He can come through walls or doors, even if they're locked. He won't forget you. He loves you just like Daddy and I do."

i slept very well that night and awoke Christmas morning to the evidence of a visit from the magic old elf. He had left a rocking horse, a big stuffed dog and other items under the tree, Mother quickly snapped a picture of me surrounded by my bounty. 

Bills Christmas 1945

You can see my grandfather's old console radio next to the wall on the right. Sitting on the top of the radio was an empty saucer with a few cookie crumbs and an empty glass of milk. I couldn't read the note on the saucer, but my mother told me it said: "Thanks for the snack. I understand you saw me last night. Merry Christmas, Santa."

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