Merry Christmas, 2009
To celebrate Christmas, I am sharing my Christmas Day columns, a tradition that started in 1996. Here is the 2009 version:
A Christmas story, 2008: For the fifth year in a row, Joe Lester, once the OU police chief but now the Cleveland County sheriff, came barreling through the door. Dressed as Santa Claus.
Lester makes the rounds a day or two before Christmas, to surprise boys and girls, checking on who’s been naughty and nice, maybe dropping off a gift or two, just to remind the little ones that the big fella still has them on his list.
Seeing the kids light up when St. Nick arrives is the highlight of the year. And it’s all there on video, with mom and dad sitting on the couch when Santa and his bells pop through the unlocked door.
That video is vital. Evidence against the skepticism the kids are hearing at school. They are nine and seven this year, with a 1-year-old sidekick, and the nine-year-old is starting to ask questions.
“But he’s a team player,” says the dad. “A bunch of his buddies are calling Santa’s bluff. We’re doing our best to keep it under wraps.”
So far, the magic of Santa Claus remains alive and well in the home of Brent Venables.
A Christmas story, 2000s: Dec. 25 isn’t too tough, even though he’s far from home. Jan. 7 is a different story.
That’s when, using the Julian calendar, they celebrate Christmas back home. The family gets together for a huge meal the night before. A dinner with a lot of meat, prepared his people’s way.
Parents, grandparents, his sister, they’re all there. Then early the next morning it’s off to church for a Christmas service.
“I miss that a lot,” our man says. He hasn’t been home for Christmas in, seven, eight years. Sometimes there’s a game, sometimes a practice.
The price of sport can be high.
“I become homesick in December and January,” he says. “What can I do? Get through it.”
So don’t worry about today. Think of our man on Jan. 6, when he’ll be playing basketball a few hours after his family has finished that fabulous Serbian meal, and say a prayer for Nenad Krstic.
A Christmas story, 2006: They had gone all Chevy Chase, all ” Christmas Vacation,” and adorned the house with more lights than you could count. Decorations galore, lights everywhere, this was going to be quite the show.
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