Pierre Fontenot Wednesday, January 8, 2014 0

Thinking back on it, the only thing missing was Kevin Bacon.

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My father was Big on honesty, which came under some social erosion with all the lying that had to be done regarding the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus.

My little brother and sister still believed in Santa, or were faking it one more year, to squeeze a better gift from my parents, who were under some duress by being caught in between the enjoy-their-innocence-while-you-can and the black ‘n white of Thou Shalt Not Lie.

I, so much wiser and worldly, had Figured It Out (all by myself, *he added with great pride) and knew that since our Little Red House had no chimney, that under Mom’s bed and in the back of her closet, were better places to see what “Santa” ha-ha, would have under the tree.

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So it’s Christmas Eve, which was my mother’s birthday ((poor thing) the only worse day to have a birthday would be Christmas Day). We’ve made a smaller fuss over her shindig (saving the bigger fuss for tomorrow, when it was mostly about us) – I think Dad (Worst Husband Shopper Ever) had given us the option of giving her a “throw” (“her feet are always cold”) or an oven mitt, every woman’s birthday-gift-from-her-children dream.

Birthday cake consumed (that Mom baked) (she “liked” baking, was our point of view), my little brother and sister were shooed to bed, while I, so much older, was allowed to stay up all-the-way until 9.

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Suddenly this loud noise and clatter! The dog started barking. Could be a skunk, could be a possum, never did it occur to any of us that it could be a sleigh, having an emergency landing in the rice field out back of our house.

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Mom put her hand over her mouth – that meant she was either happy or terrified – I couldn’t tell which, because she was still wearing the oven mitt, trying to convince us that it was exactly-what-she-needed.

Dad went to the upper cabinet over the frig and snagged the flashlight and I ran to my bedroom to fetch my BB gun.

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Dad was smart enough to jump into his rubber boots but I was in my socks, wearing about ten pounds of mud per foot when Dad’s flashlight shined on the brake lights of that sleigh.

The field was slick, reindeer hoofs are pretty small and bearing behind them was the momentum of a pretty portly fellow and something like a gazillion gifts, so I took it as a miracle they came to a stop before they crashed into a rice levee.

He was a little short on jolly when we found him out there with mud all up to his calves.  Thinking back, he might have been cussing, but it was in North Poleese so who am I to say…

There were a bunch of longhorn cows out in front of his sleigh, kinda scrawny though, and then my eyes adjusted and I thought, ‘O, so that’s what reindeer look like!’

So it’s the three of us out there out in the middle of a rice field, plus his reindeer and my dog, and somebody needs to say something, so he takes off his big mitten and offers his hand to my father, “Claus,” he says and my father says, “Fontenot.”

“My son, Pierre.” my father says.

“My reindeer,” says Santa. “Yo, Dasher, Dancer, show some manners! Prancer, Vixen, act like you were raised right! Comet, get Cupid over here…Donder, Blitzen, don’t eat his rice stubble; it’ll give you the squirts for crying out loud!”

My dad was doing the nice-to-meet-you’s with the reindeer, something he never thought he’d be doing; meanwhile Santa jumped back on the sleigh to get a higher view.

“Where the heck is that flea-bitten red nose reindeer?”

“He’s over there,” said Vixen, happy to tattle, to get in tight with the big jolly fellow.

My father and I looked where Vixen pointed, at this dull pink spot of light over there by the fence line.

“I checked for Barbie dolls, I checked for Monopoly games, just flat forgot to check his batteries,” Santa fessed up to my father. “You got some AA’s?”

“His nose runs on AA’s?” I asked.

“It was a special one-time option the year he came out. Comes in pretty handy on foggy nights like this one.”

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I saw my opportunity to be a hero, went dashing back to the abode to get some batteries for Rudolph.

I checked the junk drawer, moved away the screwdriver and pliers, the twist ties, found some A batteries, found some AAA’s but no AA’s.

Being a hero is quite a carrot, so I solved my problem by stealing a pair of AA’s from one of my toys.

When I got back out to the field some of the neighbors had shown up to see what the noise was all about. I knew the good times were over when I saw Bro. Nearly, a pastor at the nearby Apostolic Sanctified BaptiCostal Tabernacle, pounding on his Bible and shaking a finger at Santa.

Dad called him “Bro. Narrow Minded.” That I had not worn shoes to come into a rice field was plumb dumb, but that Bro. Nearly had come running to a rice field in the middle of the night carrying his King James was just about par for him.

He was all over Santa because Dancer was dancing, right there, just dancing up a reindeer jig, just flaunting the very-sin of it, right there, a carnal influence on the other reindeer, just shameless behavior and wasn’t Santa responsible and ashamed!

My father was kinda cringing because it was his rice field where the dancing was going on, him a fellow preacher, and soon he’d be culpable too.

Bro. Nearly was straightening Santa out real right-quick on Satan’s sneaky ways and the need to be ever vigilant in toeing to the letter of the scriptures.  Seemed to me that Santa was taking the sermon well, as he remained more jolly than I’d ever seen any sinner catch a preaching-to.

“I appreciate your enthusiasm,” Santa told the preacher. “I got a lot of time on my hands, up there, between Christmases, and have been known to read the scriptures.  I kinda like King David.”

“Yeah,” said Bro. Nearly, “killing Goliath with a sling.  He’s one of my favorites.”

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“Since I’m in the neighborhood,” Santa told us after we’d popped my batteries into Rudolph and his nose was red-light red again and fit for duty, “I may as well pass out your gifts.”

My father gave him a push to get him back into his seat on the sleigh.  Sure ‘nough, he really did say it, “Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer, and Vixen!  On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen!”

Off they went, while we went tearing into our Christmas gifts.

I got a pair of rubber boots and new socks, plus about ten pounds worth of batteries. Dad got an oven mitt.

Bro. Nearly got a Bible. No matter which page he turned to, it was always 2 Samuel, 6:14, “And David danced before the Lord with all his might.”

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This edition of Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories is brought to you by Eighty-one, where we’re reminded again that every good ‘n perfect gift comes from the Lord.  Uncle P can be reached at



when, what to to my wondering eyes should appear,

but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,

with a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.


More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:

“Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer, and Vixen!

“On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen!