Friday, July 15, 2011

Christmas in July.

My Uncle Jimmy was a really fun loving, sweet uncle. He was a big, tall Irish guy who married my grandmother’s sister, my Great Aunt Rita. Here are some things I remember about Uncle Jimmy:

• He was usually whistling or humming a jaunty tune.

• He would always slip my brother Mike and I change from his pockets on during the madness that was Sunday Dinner at Grandma and Papa’s house.

• He had one of the coolest jobs in the world – Uncle Jimmy worked for the Coca-Cola Company.

When I say I have been drinking Coke since I was a baby, I am not kidding. We never touched Pepsi; it was like some weird family rule. If somebody even offered you a Pepsi and you were dying of thirst you would decline, because your blood ran red, like the red on a can of good old fashioned American COKE!


Growing up, this was always a very cool perk; there was always free Coke around the house as well as lots of Coca Cola swag - clocks, clothing and a Black Santa Claus doll.

My Uncle Jimmy gave my brother and I our Black Santa when we were little kids. Now I know that it is probably not PC to have called him that, but I was five, and that is what I named him, because that is what he was, a Black Santa.

Black Santa was this awesome Santa Claus doll with a furry red coat and hat, white boots, a bottle of Coke in his hand and an actual beard.

I guess these dolls were mass-produced in the late 50’s and early ‘60’s by a company called The Rushton Company, and back in the day they sold for about three dollars each. Black Santa was one of those special toys that came out only once a year, which made him even more exciting and special. I remember the little bottle of Coke that he held had an actual metal bottle cap on it – I would shove the cap of the bottle into Black Santa’s mouth and pretend to feed him Coke like I was feeding a baby a bottle, just like Grandma fed Coke to me.

We would take him everywhere with us during the month of December, like to the grocery store, Christmas shopping, and of course to Grandma and Papa’s on Sunday. Uncle Jimmy was always thrilled to see he had given such a good home to him - we begged him to get us another Black Santa, so we could each have our own, but unfortunately he was only given one so we had to share. Mike and I would rotate nights during the Christmas season of who got to sleep with Black Santa. We also rotated years on who got to sleep with him on Christmas Eve.

Every Christmas when we would pull Black Santa out of the box with the Christmas stuff and the whole family would get excited. It was like Christmas was really here, with the arrival of Black Santa.

I wish to God I still had Black Santa in my life to bring out at Christmastime for my boys. That doll was so much more than a toy to Mike and I, that doll was Santa Claus!

Thank you Uncle Jimmy, for one of my fondest Christmas toy memories.

And I still won’t go near a can of Pepsi with a ten foot pole.

Me, having a Coke and a smile....thanks to my Uncle Jimmy - here with my Aunt Rita.

1 comment:

  1. Another reason to wish you still had Black Santa:

    He sells for like $275 on ebay!!!

    Who knew!