CLIMB UP HERE LITTLE MAN

I remember my Grand-Father.
He was a large man, quite jovial,
every time I would visit him,
he would be seated in HIS chair.
It was a big chair for a big man.
I would stand near his feet,
gazing up at his ice blue eyes.
They twinkled when he winked,
and his nose wrinkled when he’d think.
He would always tell me,
“Climb up here little man!”
And my smile lit up the
eastern seaboard, rumor had it.
Granddad always asked if I
was behaving myself. That was
something everyone in my family
always asked over the years.
“Been good, boy?” he sized me up.
I would nod loudly leaving no doubt
that I had. “OK, I’ll take care of you”
he would always say. Then, he’d tilt
his head toward his candy jar,
and hold one finger crossing his lips.
This meant, take one and be quiet about it.

Then on one visit, he let my father
sit in his chair. It fit him nicely.
He looked like a large man himself
when he’d sit in Granddad’s chair.
I would stand near his feet,
searching his cold blue eyes.
They twinkled like Grandpa’s,
and his nose turned red when he’d drink.
He would always tell me,
“Climb up here little man!”
And my smile filled my face
from side-to-side, rumor had it.
My father always knew, but
asked anyway if I was behaving.
Some family traditions never
changed over the years.
“Been good, son?” he verified.
I would nod tentatively leaving some doubt
that I had. “OK, I’ll see what I can do!”
he would always say. Then, he’d tilt
his head toward the candy jar,
and hold one finger crossing his lips.
I remembered what this meant,
take one and be quiet about it.

There came a time when my father
could no longer man Grandpa’s chair.
He had turned frail, and weak,
not a big man anymore. Not even
when he sat in the chair.
He called me to his bedside.
I came to stand near his feet,
searching his old steel blue eyes.
The twinkle had faded,
and his nose held his glasses aloft.
He gazed at me and said,
“Climb up here young man!”
And his smile shined upon my face
with me by his side, rumor has it.
My father didn’t have to ask
the age old question, he just said
“You’re a good man, son”.
At that moment I was glad that
Some family traditions never
change over the years.
I nodded solemnly accepting
that I had become that.
“I need you to see what you can do!”
he said. Then, he’d roll
his head toward the candy jar,
I handed him a striped cane
and held one finger crossing my lips.
He knew what this meant,
I’d let him have one,
but he had to be quiet about it.

My Grand-Father and Father handed down
the mantle which I have accepted gladly.
Coming from a long line of large men,
I was now a large man, quite jolly,
every time children would visit me,
I would be seated in Father’s…er, my chair.
It was a big chair for a big man.
The younglings would stand near my feet,
gazing up at my warm blue eyes.
They twinkled when I winked,
and my nose wrinkled when I’d think.
I would always say,
“Climb up here little one!”
And their smiles would light up
like Aurora Borealis, rumor has it.
And I always asked if they
were behaving themselves. That was
something everyone in my family
always asked over the years.
“Been good?” I’d size ’em up.
A shy nod came, leaving no doubt
that they had. “OK, I’ll take care of you”
I would always laugh. Then, I’d tilt
my head toward Grandpa’s old candy jar,
and hold two fingers across my lips.
This meant, take two and be quiet about it.
I am Santa. Like my Father before me,
and his Father before him.
And that meant, I can change the rules!