Godbey: That time I wanted to kidnap Santa Claus

Published 9:39 am Tuesday, December 19, 2023

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By Jack Godbey


While most children are told about the exploits of Santa and buy into it hook, line and sinker, I was not such an easy sell. I have always been the kind of guy who likes to know how things work. Granted, I may have taken my parents at their word when I was five years old. However, by the time I reached seven, something started sounding fishy with this whole Santa story. For starters, I was not comfortable with the concept of someone coming down the chimney in the wee hours of the morning. Something about that seemed to scare the pants off me. Never mind the fact that we didn’t even have a chimney in our house. That part never entered my mind. I said I was curious; I didn’t say I wasn’t stupid.

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It must have been the Christmas of 1975, and I was determined to get to the bottom of this whole Santa business. I wasn’t happy with this dude coming in our house unannounced. I was told that Santa only gave toys to the children who were on the nice list. I knew there were a couple of things that happened throughout the year that were highly questionable, so I wasn’t sure that Santa would show up at my house anyway. One thing for sure, I was going to find out tonight. Being a child who had watched far too many episodes of “Batman,” I devised a plan. I was going to wait for Santa to arrive, lasso him and tie him up and question him. I planned to get the answers to everything from how the reindeer flies to where does he uses the bathroom when flying across the world on Christmas night. I went to bed early, just like my parents asked, because Santa wouldn’t come if I was still awake. I pretended to be asleep and then quietly snuck out of bed and tip-toed across the floor, trying to keep the boards from creaking. I entered the living room with a handful of rubber bands. Not sure how I planned to tie Santa up with those, but it was the best I could do. Here, I would wait until Santa arrived and I would put my plan into action.

I think I was most upset about the fact that Santa was going to eat the cookies under the tree. I already had to compete with a house full of brothers and sisters and try to keep them from eating my cookies. Now, this intruder was going to come in my house, eat my cookies and leave? Not on my watch he wasn’t. However, if he left me an Atari 2600 video game then I suppose I could sacrifice a few cookies.

As I entered the living room, I saw my mother putting the presents under the tree and my father was eating my cookies. I wondered why Santa wasn’t doing this himself. Then, it hit me. Santa must have found out some of the mean things I did that year and stiffed me on the presents. My mother, not wanting me to go without, provided the presents.

Fast forward 48 years and I see Santa in front of a store today and I stop to check him out. I had never been this close to Santa before. Who knew he would smell like a mixture of cigarettes and bourbon? I walked around and sized him up thinking in my mind how big a lasso it would take to subdue him. We never spoke but when our eyes met, he knew. Someday, Santa, someday.