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Santa has grease under his fingernails

Updated on October 5, 2013
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Twas the night before Christmas

and it was cold as executioners steel.

I was stirred from my slumber

by the rattling of metal

rising up beside my bed.

I arose from under cover

in time to see

the figure in shadows

disappear down the hall.

Was it Santa?

I slipped out of bed

and plodded across the floor

my feet crinkling over newspaper

that had been spread there

under the engine of daddy’s

Harley Davidson.

The aroma of a pine tree

oil and gas

wafted all around me

as I sleepily trudged down the hall.

I was heading for the pot

when I noticed a light

softly emanating

through mom and dad’s

slightly open door.

Peeking in I saw to my surprise

dad assembling a bicycle

with a wrench that had been on my floor.

I had envisioned elves building my bike

but here was dad

cranking hard on a nut

while mom pulled more gifts

from under their bed.

I finished my business

and staggered back to my room

tracking oil as I climbed into the sheets

and even though

the revelation sank in

I fell asleep dreaming

of reindeer and elves

and still to this day

when I spy Santa at the mall

I can’t help but draw near

as I pass

hoping one more time

to catch the familiar odor

of Christmas Tree, oil, and gas


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    • wayne barrett profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Barrett 

      4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Audrey. I wrote it off season anyway! So, why not?

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      4 years ago from California

      What a fun read Wayne--not sure why I wanted to read it in April--just paid the tax man though--maybe there is something here in common?

    • wayne barrett profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Barrett 

      5 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you, DzyMsLizzy. Your tradition sounds fun.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      5 years ago from Oakley, CA

      This was a fun read. I remember how devastated I was when I 'figured it all out.' So, I vowed that my kids would never know that disappointment, and I raised them to have the best of both worlds.

      They had Santa, and they never had that 'letdown.' Our tradition was that Santa is a game that everyone plays at Christmas time.

      Of course, when they were really young, they didn't 'get it' one way or another..it was just all excitement and new. As they grew, we reinforced the concept of the game, and taught them that it is very rude to spoil the game for younger children.

      (I also wrote a sort of parody on the Night Before Christmas, but mine is from an adult viewpoint of just not being ready on time. LOL)

      Voted up!

    • bizarrett81 profile image

      bizarrett81 

      5 years ago from Maine

      I know, and I love it!

    • wayne barrett profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Barrett 

      5 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thanks Beth. Now you get to be Santa.

    • bizarrett81 profile image

      bizarrett81 

      5 years ago from Maine

      I miss having time to read all your poems. This reminds me so much of childhood with you, working so hard to make Erika believe in Santa for far too long LOL. Voted up and of course, as always, I love it.

    • wayne barrett profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Barrett 

      5 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you, Deb.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Sounds like a priceless memory to me. I recall the old fashioned electric candles with liquid in them that would bubble up on the Christmas tree. I think they were from the 40's or 50's...

    • wayne barrett profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Barrett 

      5 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you, Eddy.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 

      5 years ago from Wales

      Brilliant Wayne and voted up.

      Eddy.

    • wayne barrett profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Barrett 

      5 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you, mylinda

    • mylindaelliott profile image

      mylindaelliott 

      5 years ago from Louisiana

      Wonderful poem! Brought a smile to my lips.

    • wayne barrett profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Barrett 

      5 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      I appreciate the compliment, Rasma.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up. This was creative and absolutely delightful.

    • wayne barrett profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Barrett 

      5 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you, Tuatha.

    • Tuatha profile image

      Kari Shinal 

      5 years ago from AZ

      I have yet to let my children in on the Santa mystery. Needless to say if one would have to have the bubble burst, I would hope they would have such an experience as you have described here. Wonderful!

    • wayne barrett profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Barrett 

      5 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you, Jamie. Glad I could bring back some memories...fond ones I hope.

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 

      5 years ago from Reno NV

      This poem has all the elements of a tale that will take its place in history. I love your memories of Christmas, my father was a biker and those smells evoke many a memory in me. Jamie

    • wayne barrett profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Barrett 

      5 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you. Romeo. Ah, the myriad of scents that old Santa drags along with him. : )

    • wayne barrett profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Barrett 

      5 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you, Eric.

    • wayne barrett profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Barrett 

      5 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thanks for the4 visit, Rick.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      5 years ago from TEXAS

      Of course I wasn't, Wayne. ;-) I can't remember doing anything really naughty! I was a completely angelic child, although I was extremely resourceful and I did have a propensity for using whatever materials I found to make the things I was making, such as doll clothes or doll house furnishings. I suppose I may have cut a circular lace medallion out of my big sister's prom gown or appropriated a tiny piece of a fur rug for such purposes; - something perfectly innocent and foretelling of my lifelong creativity like that!

      :-D (ok, so I was dangerous - but all in innocence!!)

    • Romeos Quill profile image

      Romeos Quill 

      5 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

      A great poem Wayne - reminds me of my own forty-percent proof Santa, as the sulphurous waft of a stokey seeped under the bedroom door as he made his staggering midnight delivery of wondrous delight :)

      All the Best,

      R.Q.

    • wayne barrett profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Barrett 

      5 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Nellieanna, what on earth could you possibly have done to be punished for? Don't tell me you were once a naughty girl! : )

    • wayne barrett profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Barrett 

      5 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Sha, I know what you mean about that feeling of discovery...which is why I still believe! : )

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Wonderful just wonderful. Santa Spirit should be all year long. What a fun tale. Thank you

    • wayne barrett profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Barrett 

      5 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      annart, I believe in him as well. I have to, because there have been many times that I have been him! It's all in the spirit. : )

    • wayne barrett profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Barrett 

      5 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Michael, Christmas comes so early now that I think pretty soon it will be a year round tradition!

    • profile image

      Valleypoet 

      5 years ago

      You have really brought your childhood Christmas memory to life here....some of the childhood innocence is lost by the discovery, but none of the magic of Christmas...still living on...great write:-))

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      5 years ago from TEXAS

      That's a poignant angle to the Christmas myth. Reminds me of one time before Christmas which I experienced when I was about 5 or so, scrambling under the bed to avoid punishment for something or another. The bed was set 'catty-cornered' and from my hiding place under the slats and springs, I saw something very interesting in that triangular space between the headboard and the corner: 4 wooden legs. Of course, I had to slither up there to check out to what they might be attached. It was a roll-top desk just my size!! I knew it had to be for me because I was the only person living there that size! I realized Santa lived there too, and, of course, being practical, he had to pre-stash some larger gifts which wouldn't fit through the chimney, ahead of time! ;-) I was very smug about my discovery!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      Wayne, I've known many a biker to keep his Harley in the house, if no garage was available, so I can soooo smell the oil!

      I also remember the first time I caught my parents putting together a Christmas present that came with 'some assembly required'. I felt worse for them than I did for myself. Yeah, the Santa thing was blown, but I felt worse that I'd discovered the secret they tried to keep!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      5 years ago from SW England

      Great angle on finding out about Santa; does he or doesn't he exist? We all believe in him regardless, well I certainly do. Love this poem with its sense of innocence and the recollection that comes with smells and atmosphere. Good one. Ann

    • cleaner3 profile image

      cleaner3 

      5 years ago from Pueblo, Colorado

      is it Christmas already ?.. great poem wayne

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