Our local newspaper recently encouraged its readers to share a special Christmas memory. I have so many precious memories but I decided to mention visiting Santa Claus when he made his annual stop at our Fleming County Courthouse on Christmas Eve night. I'm sure there are pictures of these visits in archived newspapers but I still have the images in my mind. The Courthouse sitting on top of the hill in Flemingsburg and the lights shining on the front. Our Courthouse is truly a beautiful building at night! The steps leading up to the "front porch" and Santa Claus at the top, waiting with his bag of treats. The long line of children and parents that seemed to go on forever and ever. Often these lines extended down the Courthouse Hill but the memory that is most vivid to me probably occurred during one of the last years that I visited this jolly old elf. My parents, my brother and I stood in a line that extended out West Main Street past the old jail that is no longer there and the Methodist Church that still sits next door. I'm sure that it was cold but I didn't feel it and I didn't worry about Santa because he was used to the cold. North Pole, remember? I don't recall if there were impatient children but I suspect that most of them felt like me. Santa Claus was here and I had to be on my best behavior! And then, when we finally made it to the top of the steps, there was Santa and his brown bag of treats that he gave each child. Oh, the joy that this one small brown paper sack had to offer!
These nights were so special and I believe that most people in town took their children to experience the magic of visiting this man in red. Yes, there was magic in those nights because we believed. We believed in Santa Claus and we believed that he could somehow visit our small town on Christmas Eve and still manage to deliver toys to other boys and girls all over the world. He really did know if we had been good all year or just the past few months. He truly cared about our small town in Kentucky and he really was as fat and jolly as we had always been told.
It was only when I was much older that I realized that sometime during our long wait on that one night that my Daddy must have disappeared. I don't remember missing him at the time but I do know that after we finally saw Santa Claus and then returned to our home, Christmas had come! There, under our tree, were gifts! On his way out of Flemingsburg Good Saint Nick had made a stop at our house at Route 1 Flemingsburg and rewarded my brother and me for trying to be a good boy and girl.
So many years have passed and so many Christmases are now memories but I have never forgotten those special Christmas Eve nights at the Fleming County Courthouse! I don't know just how many years that Santa Claus made those visits but I do know that during the mid fifties to early sixties, I was privileged to be there with him!