The Night We Saw Rudolph

  • Paul, Stephen and Beth on Christmas Eve, early 70's.

Twas the night before Christmas on Webb Street in Salem. Stephen is five years old and trying desperately to fall asleep amidst the holiday excitement and anticipation of Christmas morning.

I tell him that if Santa comes and he is still awake, he will fly right by and not bring him any toys. Just then, someone drove into the driveway of the liquor store that use to be our neighbor and put their brake lights on, causing the bedroom to glow in a bright, red light.

His eyes grew as big as saucers as he looked at the window, then at me, and muttered “Rudolph…!” just before falling asleep.

From that year forth, every Christmas Eve Stephen would turn to me and say, “Remember the night we saw Rudolph?” and we’d laugh at the memory. But as we grew to adults, I began to respond, “That wasn’t Rudolph, it was….” and before I could finish the statement he would give a little smirk and say, “SShhhh, it was Rudolph” and we’d just smile.

My brother has been gone 18 Christmases now, but I still tell this story to anyone who will listen.

Because looking back, Stephen was right.

It was indeed Rudolph.