Snowfall triggers flurry of questions from this little boy

Susan Manzke
Susan Manzke recalls how Santa's arrival couldn't come soon enough for her young son, Russell, one year.

Today things are discombobulated at our home. Bob’s health issues have taken a turn and he is currently having more scans to locate issues—I hate to say cancer, but that word along with tumors has resurfaced.

Instead of centering on the present, I’m going to turn to the past, when our family was young and so were we.

Here’s a favorite memory of mine. It was a column once upon a time. Today we will revisit it.

Russell was a little bugger. He had his nose pressed to the picture window for days— looking for the first snowflake to fall. How he could see past his own smudges, I didn't know, but he did all right because I finally heard him yell for me to come.

"Mommy, it's Christmas!" the little guy proclaimed. He looked past that lonely little flake and searched the sky for Santa, whom he was sure would be following.

I tried to explain to him that he had almost a month to wait for Christmas. It was only November and we hadn’t even celebrated Thanksgiving yet.

"But it's snowing!" he cried, refusing to listen to me. Then, in anticipation, he preceded to tear about the house looking for stockings to hang for Santa to fill.

You may wonder how the kid got the impression that Christmas was a roving holiday, which appeared with the advent of the first snowfall.

I didn't have to wonder. I knew. I was the one who started the whole problem.

It all began one hot July day when Russell asked, "When's Christmas?"

I don't know how the subject came up, but I answered truthfully, "December 25."

"When?" he went on—months and numbers were not the answers he wanted.

"Five months from now." It was hard to concentrate on Christmas while wiping sweat out of my eyes.

"Five what?"

Susan and Bob Manzke's son, Russell, 2, being held by big sister, Rebecca, 5.

“Months, five months.” Nothing I said satisfied him. I showed him the calendar, counted the days and holidays between July and the end of December. I did everything I could to answer his question.

"But Mommy, when is Santa coming?"

I thought again. What could I say?

"It's too hot for Santa to come to Wisconsin. He can't come until it snows. He needs snow for his sleigh."

Now that explanation he understood. Of course, a sled needs snow. The questions stopped. I was proud of my solution and forgot about Santa … for a while. The round fat man was out of my mind until the first snowflake found its way past our picture window.

"It's snowing. Santa is coming! How is he getting here?" The questions began again, full force and non-stop. “Will he know what I like? Should we bake him cookies?”

I took out the calendar again. We counted the days until Christmas, and I reminded him that grandma's birthday had to come before Christmas, and Santa couldn't come until all the toys were made.

What did all my trouble get me this time? Just another blank look and, "But when, Mommy?"

The questions never did end for that son. Russell was a minefield of questions, most were impossible to answer, but I loved every one.

Because of this column, I saved this little story. It’s a benefit of writing I didn’t realize at the time.

Our Christmas tree is up and holiday photo cards were made with us and our grandchildren. There might not be a newsletter this year, but good wishes will go along with each card mailed. (Please include a loose stamp to help us defray the postage for your card.) We continue to be thankful for all that we have, including all our many readers.

Susan and Bob Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;;