There’s just something special about Christmas in a small town. Sure, it may not be as glitzy as big city holidays, but there is a quaintness and simplicity that creates those special, life-long memories that are just beyond compare. Growing up in Culpeper, Virginia, I am fortunate to have many such memories.
As a child, one of my favorite Christmastime memories revolves around our local, hometown radio station – WCVA 1490 AM. Not only did this wonderful station play the hit music of the day and tell us such important things such as which schools were closed because of snow, they also provided a direct link to Santa Claus.
Just after Thanksgiving mailboxes would go up around town at such places as Aide’s Department Store. Kids from all over town would deposit their letters to Santa there. You didn’t even need a stamp; what a great bargain.
Then, each weekday afternoon, the disk jockey would fire up the old shortwave radio and open a connection to the North Pole. As children, my brother and I would sit glued to the radio hanging on every word. Our excitement would grow as the radio signal popped and whistled until finally the connection had been made.
Normally, Santa answered the call, but sometimes it was Mrs. Claus or perhaps an elf. The conversation usually started off with an update of what was going on at the North Pole. Then it was on to the letters.
The letters all started off with the obligatory introduction and the verification that the child had been good all year. Then it was on to the list of Christmas wishes. At the end of the letter, most kids would wish Santa well and let him know that there would be milk and cookies waiting at their house and, perhaps, some carrots for the reindeer.
I can tell you firsthand that it was a total thrill to hear Santa read my letter on the radio. A lot of kids believe that Santa saw their Christmas letter but you could know for sure when you heard it on the air.
Oh how I miss those wonderful days gone by. Life was simpler then and Christmas really was a magical time. Even today, I scan the airwaves hoping to hear Santa’s voice one more time.
Merry Christmas, Y’all.