Secret Santa

I left the gift box on a table out of view of the door. Then waved at Kasem through the parted vertical blinds before ushering TJ away. I couldn’t help but notice he put a coat on the dog, but didn’t put a hat or gloves on himself. That would be a good addition to the box. To my relief, they kept walking. Normally, he would have brought Sparky up by the door so we could say ‘hi’ to the dog.

“Remember, you’re supposed to let me know if you see Kasem leave in his car. The present is a surprise. Once he goes to work, I’ll put it by his front door.”

“I wanna help.” TJ dragged a wooden kitchen chair across the linoleum floor. Then clambered up beside me. “Oh, those cookies look good.” He smacked his lips. Then leaned on the edge of the table as he pointed to the small bakery box.

“These are to say ‘thank you’ to him for all the nice things he’s done. Remember when he brought our trash can back up to the garage before we got home from a trip? And when he gave his neighbor, Kirby, a ride home because it started snowing while he was out walking?”

“And lets me play with Sparky,” quipped TJ.

My hope was Kasem would soon leave for his shift at the convenience store. That would give me time to secretly deliver the present. I finished tucking the cookies, a thermos, cocoa and cider mixes, a fabric mask, a small gift card for the pet store, along with a note of thanks into a decorative box.

Then I opened a nearby closet to look through miscellaneous items. Sometimes I needed a little something extra to finish out gifts. The second tote I rummaged through had a pair of black men’s gloves and a festive holiday beanie.

I turned back to the table and repositioned the cookies and thermos so the beanie and gloves would fit. It bulged a bit, but with several pieces of tape, I got it to stay closed. TJ had gotten bored and was back at the sliding glass door.

The vertical blinds clattered and more window thumping. Then a loud whisper, “Momma, Kasem and Sparky are back.”

“Good. Now, watch for his car to leave so we can drop off his gift.”

While TJ was busy watching for the car, I put on my boots and coat. Then grabbed his coat and boots and walked towards the sliding glass door. “Bye, Kasem, bye,” TJ shouted at the window.

I helped him put on his coat and boots. Then lingered for a moment taking in the tiny hand prints on glass. “Momma, come on. I’m getting too hot.”


We walked hand-in-hand on the snow packed street to Kasem’s unit. Sparky barked and pawed at the door as we approached. I set the box down by the front door before taking TJ’s hand and then back home. Now, I’m the one who bubbling with excitement. I can’t wait until tomorrow to see if Kasem is wearing that festive beanie.

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