Christmas Stockings

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A Rusty Christmas

I remember a Christmas party. I was six and my sister was two.

She walked before she was a year old, surprising everyone. She never walked when she could run and keeping up with her was like tracking a whirlwind.

Anyway, mom’s employer held a kid’s party every year. They gave out toys for the kids and gift certificates for parents.

Santa had a gift for every kid who was registered, so it was always forever before you heard your name called, and parents would have the opportunity to take pictures with Santa. We had to wait for the film to be developed back then, and there were no quick checks to see if you got it right. Mom was a great photographer though, and rarely screwed up the camera settings.

When they finally called my sister’s name, she took off like a bullet.

Mom had primed her, and she’d already tried to escape her supervision twice. With her rolling toddler gait, she was gone like a scared rabbit.

And her gift was Rusty!

A toy she could ride and push around with her feet. It was a plastic dog, colored orangish red, with handles where his ears should have been. Mom showed her how to hop on it, and we couldn’t keep up with her.

Her laughter and giggles had everyone sitting close smiling in response. Her pure glee at being able to push to go fast and then coast for a few feet, brought more chortles and belly laughs.

How Santa knew it would be the perfect gift, I’ll never know. It was the only one like it and seemed to be specially made for her.

It still is a special memory, but boy can I make my sister blush when I tell the story now.

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