I swear on everything dear to me that every word in this story is true and absolutely without embellishment. This is exactly and honestly how it happened.
We went to Granny and Papa Lou’s house for a late breakfast visit this morning. My brother and his family were going to stay an extra day, but the pending snow storm spooked them and they left for southern Ontario at noon instead of tomorrow as planned. We were driving back to Manotick shortly after lunch, and chatting about the Christmas Day years ago I drove lazy loops around the Manotick rural roads enjoying my Starbucks coffee while Tristan and Simon snoozed in the back seat. I couldn’t help but laugh when we noticed Lucas fast asleep in his car seat. At four he’s a little old for afternoon naps, but after two days of cousin visits and Christmas, he was pretty wrung out. We stopped by the house long enough to drop off Beloved and the big boys and Lucas and I headed out to drive a few more lazy loops of those rural Manotick roads.
Of course, I had an agenda of my own. We’ve been so busy getting ready for Christmas that I’ve been positively drooling to get out and take some pictures of the thick, pristine snowfall from a few days ago. I was a couple of kilometers from home on Dozois Rd when I noticed how beautifully the sun was hitting the snow in a little forest. I couldn’t resist. I pulled over to the shoulder of the deserted road and reached for my camera — and that’s when I realized it had been in the bag that Beloved brought into the house when I’d dropped him and the boys off.
Mildly disappointed but not completely perturbed, I pulled out my iPhone instead. Lovely, wasn’t it?
And then I put down my phone, rolled up the window (I hadn’t even gotten out of the car – call me lazy) and put the car in gear. And my stomach sank as the wheels started to spin. I tried rocking it, twisting the wheel, easing it and flooring it. Nothing came even remotely close to moving the car.
I was completely and righteously stuck in the snow.
All I could hear was Beloved’s voice, see him shaking his head. “Have you learned yet? Picture-taking fool.” We have roadside assistance, but on Christmas Day I feared we’d be at New Year’s Eve before they got around to me. I thought I’d try to get myself out first.
I wasn’t there long when the first Good Samaritan stopped. He and I used our windshield scrapers to try to dig some room behind the (deeply buried) front wheels so we could stick the floor mats under them and get some traction. That plan had just failed utterly and completely when I glanced at in my rearview mirror….
(remember, every single word of this is 100% true)
…. and saw the red
sleigh tractor pulling in behind me. I may have giggled a bit in relief as I stepped out of the car, but I swear my jaw dropped open when the tractor driver popped out and I took in the flannel shirt, the long white beard and the (honestly, every word is TRUE!) twinkly blue eyes.
“Having a bad day?” he asked with a smile.
“Not since you showed up!” I grinned back at him. He was already at work attaching a chain to the underside of my rear bumper. I had the presence of mind to grab my iPhone at that point to capture the moment. There is no better blog fodder than an anecdote that makes me look ever so slightly foolish while having a happy ending. With a Christmas twist, I knew it was bloggy gold.
He pulled me off the shoulder and back on to the road, and we both got back out of our vehicles. “Can I give you a little something for your troubles?” I asked, thinking of the $20 I have stashed in the dash for Starbucks emergencies.
“‘Course not,” he grinned. “I’d take a hug, though.” Which I gladly gave to him without hesitation.
“You know,” I couldn’t help but add with a shy smile of my own, “you kinda even look like Santa Claus.”
“You think?” he said, with an “aw shucks” sort of tug on his beard. He told me his name is Andrew.
I thanked everybody profusely and climbed back in to my car. Lucas had slept through the entire event, which really only took about 15 minutes from photo to escape. I drove on down the country road smiling to myself and already writing this blog post in my head, but I realized that while it makes a great story, you’d never believe me about the Santa Claus part. So I turned the car around, maybe a kilometer down the road from where I’d been stuck, and headed back the way I’d come, expecting to see him still winding up his rusty chain. I figured I’d impose on his good will one last time and ask if I could take a photo of us together, if he didn’t mind. I crested one hill and then another, and passed the mucked out bit of snow on the shoulder where I’d been stuck and kept on to the intersection with Mitch Owen — but there was absolutely no sign of him or his tractor.
He had disappeared.
Now this makes for an awesome story, but the funny PS is that I am not absolutely convinced that I’ll be able to publish this story on my blog. I tried about 20 times to tweet the photo of the tractor pulling my car out of the ditch in the following tweet: “OMG I just got rescued from a ditch by Santa in a tractor on Christmas day!! #truestory #merrychristmas” and each time, the tweet failed.
By the time I was home, I even tried to tweet it from my desktop. I kept getting an error message I’d never seen before, in more than 16,000 tweets.
Clearly, the big guy wanted to keep his good deed a secret. But I just couldn’t help myself, and so I sat down to tell this story. I was just about to press the ‘publish’ button when it hit me: Photoshop! I could enlarge the section of the original photo with the tractor, and you could see for yourself. I promise you that I did nothing to this photo except boost the resolution to 200%. Check it out!
Not the clearest photo ever, but tell me you can’t clearly see the beard, the grizzled hair, and even the flannel shirt.
Santa rescued me from my photo-taking foibles on Christmas day. Best! Christmas! Story! EVER!!
(and I promise, I swear, I absolutely guarantee — every single word is true!)
Merry Christmas, my bloggy friends! I hope your Christmas is filled with wonder and funny stories.
Edited to add: how much do I love the Internet? Want a better picture of my hero Santa? Thanks to Laura Jane Photography on Twitter for this much better photo of Santa-Andy. See, he really does look like Santa!!