The Old Man at the Door


After a long Christmas eve day of moving cattle from the upper field to the valley and closer to our home, I was tired and ready for bed after a good supper. We’d been in bed for at least two hours when the dog barked, and a knock came on our front door.

“Who in the world could that be at this hour?” the missus said as she instinctively pulled on her robe and headed for the kitchen to warm up some coffee.

I answered the door to find an old man with a large white beard standing on our step.

“So, sorry to wake you, but I broke the trace on my sleigh and wondered if you might have one I can borrow or some way of repairing this one?” he asked.

“Sure,” I answered as we went to the barn, where I let him look over my tack.

It took him very little time to find a trace that would work for his sleigh and the team pulling it. I invited him back to the house for a cup of coffee, where I grabbed my truck keys to drive him back to where he needed to go.

Coffee in hand, he got in on the passenger side, and I climbed behind the steering wheel. As usual, I had a hard time getting the truck started as the engine had grown old and tired.

Finally, on the road, I smiled, “Maybe one day I’ll be able to afford a new one.”

He said nothing. But when he looked at me, I thought I saw a twinkle in his eye.

Less than ten minutes later, we pulled onto a side road, where he directed me to turn in behind a thicket of trees. I offered to help him set the traces, but he declined.

“Thanks,” he said. “I’ll look into that new truck for you.”

Returning home, I told the wife about what he said and explained that we may have met the real Santa. She laughed and returned to bed, and I followed shortly after.

That morning, with childlike anticipation, I went outside and found my old pickup truck parked right where I had left it shortly after midnight.

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