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Liverwurst sandwich ‘proves’ Santa exists

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I must admit, I was always suspicious of Santa. It wasn’t a matter of not wanting to believe; I did, desperately.

But I never believed all those Santas who filled the department stores and stood on street corners were valid. Santa, of course, would never sport a cheesy-looking, obvious artificial beard. Smelling of mothballs and having bad breath just seemed so wrong.

Still, I felt I needed to hedge my bet. What if there was a Santa, but my skepticism ticked him off? What if there were no presents under the tree on Christmas morning? What should I do?

At some point, my pea brain decided I would test the old fat man. Instead of cookies and milk, I would leave out something disgusting — something not even the reindeers would like. If he ate it, it would prove he existed and loved me. This ickiest thing I could think of was a liverwurst sandwich with mustard and pickles.

Hey, I was only 5!

I have a vague memory of announcing this to my mom, claiming to be privy to Santa’s culinary tastes. She looked at me askance but, God rest her soul, she acquiesced.

That started a yearly tradition of leaving a liverwurst-on-Wonder-bread sandwich, complete with mustard and pickles, by the fireplace. Little did I know, my dad loved liverwurst.

Each Christmas morn, along with my pile of presents, was the elf plate with a few crumbs. Santa passed my test; I was a believer!

It wasn’t until I was 12 or so that my mom finally asked if we could stop with the liverwurst already. True story — honest!

What are your memories of Santa?

Catlin Montgomery, Griffith: “Growing up, we lived out in the country, so the winter skies were magnificent with stars.

“On Christmas Eve, my dad woke up my sister and me and told us to bundle up and come outside. Pointing to the sky, which seemed immense, there was a flash of light. That, my dad said, was Santa and his reindeer, speeding from house to house.

“We were too young to know what a shooting star was, but it was a magical moment — one of my favorite memories of Christmas and my father.”

Steve Mitchell, St. John: “I was in a long line to see Santa with my older brother, Ted, an ornery kid. Ted didn’t want to be there, but my mom said he had to wait in line with me.

“We got up to Santa, and I was surprised to see Ted climb on to Santa’s lap. Suddenly, he grabbed the man’s beard and gave a yank. The whole thing came off.

“Kids started to cry. I tell you, it was ugly. That story has been told, with many embellishments, every Christmas since.”

Hanna Kemp: Schererville: “My grandma was sick and I was worried. She’d been in the hospital and couldn’t play with me. So, I wrote a letter to Santa, asking him to make her well.

“Santa wrote me back (my mom, as I later found out) and assured me she would be OK. That was my best gift that year.”



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