My name is Frank Hatter. Go ahead and take a few minutes to giggle or ponder the ridicule potential of my name. While you are at it, go ahead and pass some gas and blame it on me as well, I don’t mind as it happens all the time. You need to get a sense of who I was before becoming Santa. So I’ll be Frank, maybe even ‘hot dog’ for you, but a wiener I am not. Being called the ‘Mad Hatter’ was close enough to who I was given the name torture I was exposed to. When aging flowed into the sex arena, I had to deal with a new name tag—Had Her, a loosely connected affiliation with Hatter. Frank Had Her; so how was she Frank? The hot dog had her… Ridicule kills more people than terrorists, unless you count those who ridicule as terrorists; most schools don’t though. I tried to escape the name game by suggesting nick names that were more acceptable to me, but my friends (?) ambushed me with another assault name: Richard Frank—Dick Dog. Becoming Santa would free me, but you need a little more of my childhood history first.
Booze & Poverty
Now I do understand that poverty, like everything else is a perception that varies from an individual perspective. Today’s impoverished might have a car, home and color TV, although I won’t feel sorry for them—not like the poor guy sleeping on a city sidewalk. My poverty was the kind that affected how much or often I ate or drank or whether mom could heat the tin can we lived in. Dad’s liquid diet assured that little money would be left for necessities. My clothing came from the goodness of others, meaning I was not stylish or current with ’my look’. This Frank was not fully dressed. Dad’s fondness for alcohol kept mom and I close for both fear
and love reasons. The black & blue marks on my body were all that dad could give me, so I tried to stay out of his way. Back then the Village (it takes a village to raise a child) stayed out of
family business. The DRINK kept dad safely away from all fatherly responsibilities—a situation that sadly plays out for many families today. I thought about running away, but leaving my only source of love—mom, was unthinkable. Large quantities of booze over time can kick the soul out of a rotting body, so I prayed. Prayer is another issue we should talk about later, as of now
I have never been to church and I don’t know God (or do I?). My friends told me that God is dog spelled backward, and by now you know that dog is a Frank. Maybe God knows that name calling hurts… Anyway, prayer at that time was just a ‘thought’ while looking up at the sky.
The day finally came when my ‘thought in the sky’ came true. Mom woke me up and after huddling next to our one burner stove for warmth she bought me to the card table (dinette) where a letter was scratched out and while it did not mention either of our names, it was clearly for mom and me:
I realize that for most kids this was not good news, but for me it was right up there with my first taste of Coke Classic, thanks to my grandma who bought me one bottle. Mom was sad and cried. She still loved the guy who stole our food money and drank it. The only thing that held
me back from complete elation was the possibility that dad may show up again—then the knock on our door came three days later. The policeman with hat in hand softly told us that dad was dead; killed by a car that struck him crossing a busy highway while intoxicated. Both the driver and dad were drunk, so booze did finally kill him. Touché! Live by the sword, die by the sword.
We are now 700 words into this story and I can tell you that my history is history. The foundation for every life is unique, and while I would trade my youth for yours (?) it has given me the tools for the stuff I have yet to face. My father had sex with mom and this was the only
act for which I would question her sanity. I became the gift my father never wanted on Christmas day. Yes, I was born on Christmas day in the back seat of a 1960 dodge on the way to a liquor store, not the hospital. My parents named me Frank after my father’s personal brutalizer, his alcoholic dad. It is too easy to blame it on the genes, besides I have never heard of the ‘mean gene’. However, I do know that we can absorb the traits of another like an amoeba, so be careful who you hang with—family included.
Making a Wish
Now we go forward with the good part of this story. Living in poverty meant that I received little on Christmas day in the form of gifts, except the cupcake with the candle as it was my birthday too--Merry Christmas, happy birthday, make a wish! Of course previous wishes now have all been granted; dad is gone. So my post-dad wish is this: Next Christmas morning there will be a real Christmas tree and a beautifully wrapped gift for me under the tree. Mom sensed this was my first wish that wasn’t dad-demise related and asked that I share it with her. Now mind you, I already know that fairies don’t show up putting change under your pillow for used teeth and Santa never gives gifts to bad little boys and girls. Yes I was a bad Hatter! Mom pleaded and I caved, telling her my private wish which legend has it can be doomed just for revealing it. I took a chance with crossed fingers—Crosse’s counted back then.
The tough part was the long wait until next Christmas, but we had more money now for real food and occasional luxuries like junk food. Granted we should train our bodies to love fruits and vegetables, but come-on! Kettle chips are worth the health risk. The premier product that tops the food chain is of course PIZZA. Our budget allowed an occasional one, but not often. I won’t touch a hot dog; frankly the idea makes me queasy and feeling a bit cannibalistic.
While waiting for Christmas I had to cope with the normal stuff like school, hiding from the name callers and bullies, sports and my new part time job delivering papers. I was also headed into a new phase of my life that included deeply toned heavenly voices and vivid dreams. I discovered imagination. Here’s the cool thing about imagination—it’s all yours (personal) and
no one can take it from you. One word of caution regarding ‘concentrated imagination’; Hippie
Bob (my author) says in his book HIPPIE BOB & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY that
THOUGHT DELIVERS; meaning your reality will change based on thought—good or bad! His favorite reality altering tools include focused visualization on your desire and a repeated mantra to assure reality. The beauty in all of this is you can travel light while changing who you are—7 pounds (the human brain) and no bags to pack! Pinky swear…
Taking Hipster’s advice I practiced everyday my imagination skills. I also took up jogging because it was great exercise, mostly free and the gym was our Garden. I am referring of course to the Garden of Eden which, as I have come to believe is our Earth. Those who have
‘blight eye’ vision may not see the beauty that is everywhere as they are distracted by garbage, but I am sure that you can. Running with communion in nature is both inspiring and humbling. So I choose to run where nature abounds and the sounds are those that occupy the Garden— nothing stuck in my ears to block Mother Earth’s symphony. Although I will advise you that mantra’s should be kept private, I will share mine with you. Keeping the ‘secret power’ without revealing will mystify those around you. Others will want to know the complete you—never reveal and keep the advantage. Trust me; curiosity about you is your friend. Enjoy your new mystical powers! As promised; here is my mantra:
I sense that your first reaction may be; “has Hatter gone mad?” of course you already know it is one of my name tags. What I know about this is soul deep, meaning I don’t have a conscious clue but my feeble attempt to explain it is this: I AM THE GIFT THAT MANY WILL WANT, I just don’t know how or why. Perhaps we will discover this together as the story continues. Promise me that you will become an Imagineer, the world needs more of us—promise?
The Dream Trilogy
An Angel or a devil in disguise?
As I concentrated on my mantra many times every day, nothing seemed to be happening until that first vivid dream. I had a total of three dreams; not associated in any way with that Scrooge story about ghosts of Christmas past—but just as scary. The first dream came just after Thanksgiving and about four weeks from Christmas and that ‘special gift’. Thinking positive can only help, you know!
I slept like I was in a coma; very deep with no awareness of anything physical. It was dark, and I was cold and wet. The pavement was also wet and very slippery. Pavement? I was on a wet road in pitch darkness and about three feet in front of me was what appeared to be a dead body. Now as I was freaking out, I yelled—dad is that you? Fear has now clothed me with Goosebumps and chills. Worse yet, dad answered me—a voice in the darkness. “I am sorry that you have seen my ‘dead body’ but you did WISH TO SEE ME DEAD—be careful what you pray for.” Stunned, my first thought was to ask dad for forgiveness but before I could speak he said: “Son, I deserved all that you thought about me and more. Mother and you were special gifts that I neglected, abused and discarded. It is I that should beg you for forgiveness.” Suddenly, the body was gone and before me stood my father with an angelic appearance, complete with wings. I would have pictured horns, a barbed tail or other markings from one who just appeared from the gates of hell. Of course I did not tell him that directly, but he heard my thoughts! “Frank, I came to tell you this: I cannot continue on my path to redemption without your forgiveness. Being consumed by personal judgments is my hell, as I am tormented by how I treated my family. Know that God is love and that Jesus is the gift of redemption. Celebrate Christmas thinking of this…” “Know also son, that you are the GIFT THAT MANY WILL
Upon waking up that morning, I thought of telling mom about the dream but decided that telling her that dad is now an angel receiving redemption for his tortuous deeds would have given mom enough information to warrant a psychological shake-down. Sometimes a dream, like some thoughts should not be disclosed. Besides, how can I explain that I am a gift to others? I get a ‘tingle feeling’ and hear the sounds of jingle bells just thinking about it. Why is that?
Is that you, Santa Clause?
Now with Christmas just two weeks away, the second dream occurred giving me an enhanced ‘taste for cookies’. Two things you have to know before I share with you dream number two. First of all, I am not a ‘cookies & milk kind of guy’. Secondly, I told you I was born in a 1960 dodge, but I didn’t say how old the car was—it was 30 years old! That makes me just 20 years old this year. Younger and fitter than let’s just say someone in a red suit ‘belly laughing
HO-HO-HO’. As sleep often does, the dream came from nowhere that my conscious being can figure out, but as real as any reality could be. The sounds came first; jingling bells, talking laughter (ho-ho-ho), and the clatter of hoofs on the roof. Could it be, I wondered?
I opened my dream eyes, and thought I caught a wink
Santa said, “Yes Frank it is me, I know what you think. You look pretty good Santa, a little plumper than I thought Perhaps I should return those cookies I had bought!
Santa is wise and offered no banter; just saying “Take a good look; I am all I can be.”
My eyes widened as I examined his face, that’s not Santa—it’s me!
I prayed that I can stay in this dream long enough to find out what was happening, and fortunately Santa (I) was still looking at me. It was a little awkward, you know—talking to myself and expecting an answer. This reminded me of the conversation that ME, MYSELF & I had when I decided that I can’t be MYSELF, without ME. So then, it is ME that has to understand what this Santa thing is all about! Anyway, good ‘ol Santa stayed long enough to answer my query. While it was a little difficult to grasp, Santa told me that there are 80 to 100 (or more) billion galaxies just like ours, giving the likelihood that there are at least another 100 billion Earth-like planets. Long story short, God has reassigned our Earth Santa to another planet loaded with children who need his presence/presents. This is his last year with us and he indicated that by this Christmas—just two weeks away; the job then will be mine. Asking him how a 20 year old fit—Frank could possibly look and act like Santa, he just smiled and said: “I
was 30 when I got the job, and God is very creative. Look for that special gift you always wanted on Christmas morning… Oh! Don’t forget, dream number three may offer a greater understanding.” As Santa returned to my roof, preparing to leave I thought I heard him say: “Rudolph, go easy on the new guy. I saw a twinkle in one eye and soot in the other! UP UP & AWAY! Soon Frank will have his day…
The Children of the Night
Before going to bed on this night, with Christmas now just two days away, mom and I enjoyed a little ‘holiday cheer’; egg nog laced with a little spicy rum. Mom got a little philosophical on me and wanted to know when I was going to ‘graduate from delivering’— papers & pizza, that is. Surely I could not disclose that I might be staying in the DELIVERY BUSINESS and may have to move to the North Pole. Our conversation was long and sometimes tearful. Mothers always want more for their children and they busily plant ‘mind seeds’, nurturing us for future greatness. She may no longer believe in Santa—but she does believe in me! Kissing her goodnight, she said: “Son, may your dreams be sweet and remember to thank all the children you meet.” This was a far cry from the standard ‘good night son’, that I had to ask her what she meant by this. She replied; “it is just a thought that took hold of my tongue. Sometimes your ‘inner self’ wants to deliver a special message. I suspect this is one of them”. Mom has just delivered me into dream number three…
My mind could not remove mom’s comment, so I tossed and turned that night thinking what children, where are they and why me? My question was answered quickly by a voice that could only be God’s: “Three children will come to you tonight, Frank—you will not be dreaming. Learn from them, and know this: mature souls who are very wise sometimes come in little bodies. They will also be addressing you as Santa, please accept this because on Christmas day, this is who you will be.” OMG! Can I be granted one question? “First of all Frank—I mean Santa; I am not real fond of the 3 letter text that associates me with some kind of emotional surprise.
Secondly, I am not a genie who grants questions—but go ahead and ask.” Well, as YOU know, I am still young turning just 21 on Christmas day. How is it that in just two days I will be fat & jolly, older and sporting a white beard? “I knew you were going to ask that question—ha ha, private joke! Anyway, remember that special present under the Christmas tree you always wanted? Your answer is in there…