Father Christmas

I was so excited.
It was nearly Christmas
and I was going to meet
Father Christmas himself.

I was so excited, 
wearing my best coat and bonnet,
hopping from one foot to the other
in the long queue of children
waiting with their mums
to be allowed into Santa’s Grotto.

I was so excited.
We were nearly there.
I could see the grotto
with it’s tinsel and fairy lights
I was going to sit on his knee 
and have my picture taken,
and that was in an age when
photographs were even rarer
than Christmases..

I was so excited.
There were the elves...
But wait..
they were cardboard.
Where were the real elves,
the magic ones,
why weren’t they there?
“They’re much too busy”,
my mum said.
“But Father Christmas will be real”.

We paid our money
and there he was.
He really was.
I couldn’t wait to climb on his knee
and examine his beard.
I’d never seen a beard before.
But he was very tetchy when I pulled at it
and told me to stop.
Then it went lop sided
and I realised 
it was a false beard
and I told him so, angrily.
He put it back.
“Stop thy wriggling”, he said.
“You’re not the real one,
I don’t want to sit on your knee” 

Flash went the camera.

And outside there was a queue of children
to be addressed.
Hands on hips.
“He’s not the real one.
He’s got a false beard.
He’s not magic at all,
they’re cheating you!”
It’s a swiz!
Then the store manager came..

I was so excited.

First published by Silver Birch Press, Me As A Child Series, May 2015


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