It was Christmas evening. All the presents had been opened. All the food had been consumed. The dishes had even been done. Aunts and uncles and cousins had been coming and going all day. A lot of them were still there, scattered throughout the house, engaged in spirited conversations, telling stories of days passed, often teasing each other, telling on each other in good-natured reminiscing. Christmas songs permeated the atmosphere, mingling in with the laughter.
Lisa had just finished playing a game with her cousins, Derek and Jay, and her brother, Kit. The boys wandered off to go play Nintendo, and Lisa put the game back in the box and headed for her room to put it away.
"Oh, there you are." she said as she found her sister, Lacy in their room. "What are you doing?"
"I'm writing a thank you letter." Lacy told her.
Lisa looked at her puzzled. "To who? Everybody's been here. We've thanked them in person."
"To whom." Lacy corrected her, then added, "Not everybody."
"Don't tell me you're still writing to Santa!" Lisa exclaimed.
Lacy didn't respond.
From the time they learned to read and write, the girls had been writing thank you letters to Santa, stemming from an idea Lisa had had. Thrilled by receiving a gift she had wanted so badly, Lacy had danced around shouting, "Thank you, Santa! Thank you, Santa!"
Watching her, Lisa excitedly suggested they write a letter thanking Santa. "We write to him telling him what we want. It's only right to write back and say 'thank you'." She had said in her childish wisdom.
But the twins had turned 13 on June 1st, and now were too 'adult' for such activities. Or so Lisa had thought.
"You are!" she accused. "You're writing to Santa!"
"No, I'm not." Lacy finally told her. "I'm writing to Mrs. Santa."
Lisa stared at her momentarily. "Why?" she demanded.
Lacy turned and looked at her 'likeness'. Usually they were so 'in tune'. Then she smiled and patiently explained, "Well, you know how they say 'behind every great man, is a great woman?' An even greater woman? Well, just think about it. This woman has to spend Christmas alone. Her husband is out delivering gifts. Right now he's probably still delivering gifts on the other side of the world."
"You're right!" Lisa was starting to tune in.
"There's one thing that bothers me, though." Lacy confided. "I wish I knew what her name is. I mean... you know how Mom wants to be known as Rachel instead of Mrs. Arnold Powers! Mrs. Santa must feel the same. It just seems so unfair that we don't know her name. I wonder if anyone ever knew..."
"I know!" Lisa popped up. "I mean... I don't know, but I know somebody who might. Let's go ask Grandpa Tige!"
"Yeah! Great idea!" Lacy responded. "Let's!"
They bounded down the stairs and were running through the living room as their mother admonished, "Girls! ...Arnie..." Her tone turned their discipline over to their father, who turned and stepped into their paths.
They stopped immediately, bouncing up and down as he tried to give them a stern look. "Hold still!" he said trying to get a bearing on them. "Or at least bounce together, you're making me dizzy."
The girls stopped, looked at each other, then proceeded to bounce in time.
"Now, where are you headed in such a hurry? You know you're not supposed to run through the house."
"We need to talk to him!"
Arnie Powers put a hand on each of their shoulders, looked toward his wife. "Where is your dad, Rachel?"
"Why, I think he's in the den." she told them. "But he may be sleeping."
Arnie nodded his head at the twins. "You hear that? You go in quietly, in case he's sleeping. Don't disturb him if he is."
He released them mumbling, "'Yes, Daddy, yes, Daddy'... Rachel, it's a good thing they weren't all twins... We'd've had Molly and Dolly and the whole Kit and Kaboodle."
The girls rolled their eyes. They'd heard it all their lives... Well, ever since Molly was born, and she was five now. Kit was almost ten.
The girls moved on, Aunt Sophie's laughter following them, as if she'd just heard her brother's joke for the first time.
"I want a sister, Dolly!" Molly's high pitched squeal ensued.
Lisa carefully opened the door to the den and both peered in. Relieved to see him reading a new book, a Christmas gift, they rushed in.
"Grandpa," they said almost in unison. "Can you tell us if Mrs. Santa has a name?"
Grandpa Tige chuckled and closed his book, looking very much like Santa himself, with his belly jiggling and his glasses perched down on his nose. The girls quickly knealt down by his feet.
"Why, yes. Yes, she does. My great-grandmother told me." he said as his granddaughters' eyes widened. "Her name is Mira."
"Mira?" Lacy asked. "Like... short for Miranda?"
"Like Grandma's name?" Lisa finished.
Grandpa Tige's eyes misted over as he thought of his wife, gone three years now. "No," he said. "Your Grandma got mad at me once for calling her Mira." He paused, and the girls were quiet, sorry they had brought up her name.
Finally he said, "No. It was short for miracle. You see, she was very tiny when she was born, and it was a miracle that she even lived. So her parents just named her Mira. The Bell family, it was. Mira Bell."
He seemed off in recollection. Then he continued, "Then she married that Claus boy. They never had any children... But, you know, Mira really started the tradition of gift giving at Christmas --- giving to the children on the day of Jesus' birth."
"You see," he went on. "For many years, Mira made little clothes for the babies she hoped to have, but none ever came."
"Then one Christmas Eve, there was a terrible fire in their little town. It was the home of a young couple with a newborn baby." He looked at the twins. "There were no malls to go to then, you know. Thankfully, no one was hurt in the fire, but this family had to go to a neighbor's house. And all the new clothes the Mama had made for the baby, burnt up in the fire."
"Well, 'long about midnight, Mira got to thinking about the drawers full of clothes she had made for a baby that never came. Finally, she couldn't stand it no more. She got a big box and put all those precious little clothes in it. Then she called to her husband and said, "Santa, take these clothes to that little baby that needs them."
"He looked astonished and asked her, 'Are you sure?'"
"She nodded and said, 'Hurry, now.' handing him the big, heavy, red coat she had made for him."
Grandpa Tige nodded, as if to himself. "She really was a miracle. A Christmas miracle..."
He seemed to be drifting off, so the girls whispered, "Thanks, Grandpa." and tiptoed out.
Back in their room, Lacy reached for a new sheet of paper. "I'm going to write to Mira Bell Claus!" she said, then giggled. "Do you think he made it up?"
Pondering that for a moment, Lisa reached for a sheet of paper, too. "Nawww..." she said, then read aloud as she wrote, "Dear Mira Bell Claus..." She cocked her head toward Lacy. "It has a nice ring to it, don't you think?"
Tiana Dreymor - Author
Copyright Vista 15 - 1999