Hoping Uncle Paul will Stop By On Christmas Eve
By Don Iannone
When I was a young boy,
our dear Uncle Paul would sometimes stop
at our house on Christmas Eve
after the candlelight service at the old Methodist Church.
We never knew for sure if or when he’d stop, but
it was a joyous time when he did.
For some unknown reason,
he’d always drive past our house and toot his horn,
whether he stopped or continued on home.
I guess that was just his way of announcing his presence,
and perhaps a way for our family to ready for his arrival.
Not only did we relish his presence, and
the adoring interest he showed us as kids, but
his visit was the perfect excuse to stay up much later
than we normally were allowed, and
eat an additional fist full of Mom’s special iced cookies.
Uncle Paul was our eccentric uncle,
which many families seem to have.
Who knows...maybe that’s even my role in the family today.
Every family should indeed have an eccentric uncle, or aunt,
who gives you permission to do what is uniquely you,
and nobody else in life.
As I think back,
there was a certain Santa-like quality about Uncle Paul—
one hard to put your finger on,
but you sensed an innate magic about him.
Maybe it was how his bright blue eyes even twinkled—
just like Jolly Saint Nick, when he laughed.
No, Uncle Paul wasn’t a street smart merchant marine,
or even a burly lumberjack,
who fell tall trees in the wilderness.
Instead, he sold women’s shoes at the popular Baker’s Shoe store
in downtown Wheeling, and he owned a remote Christmas tree farm,
where he often fiddled away his Sunday afternoons.
He told the funniest stories about women, and
how they’d try to convince him
that their shoe size was much smaller than
what his measurement showed.
As Uncle Paul used to say “the customer is always right,
even if they’re wrong.”
As I sit here watching the snow lightly fall upon
the trees and the mountainside here in Stowe,
I celebrate my Uncle Paul and his unpredictable,
but always wonderful visits on Christmas Eve.
For some reason,
I miss him on this particular Christmas Eve.