Johnny was so excited. He had been listening to Papa and Scott tell him stories about Santa Claus. Especially all the wonderful presents he would be bringing to the good boys and girls.
With all the Christmas activities going on around him, it was so hard for the six year old to stay out of trouble. Papa had warned Johnny about the good boy list and the bad boy list that Santa kept. This was scary information, so he settled on the garden bench and thought about what he had done. And, did it mean the bad boy list for him.
First, he had snitched some cookies and Tia Maria. She had used her wooden spoon on his bottom and it sure stung. Did spankings count against him, and put him on the bad boy list? He said he was sorry, did that make up for snitching and put him on the good boy list?
Second, he was caught touching the pretty decorations on the tree in the great room. Papa had told him not to touch the tree and the decorations. It really hurt when Papaís big hand smacked his bottom and then made him sit in the corner. Bad boy list? But he did as Papa told him and stayed there till Papa said he could get up. Good boy list?
Third, Tio Cip caught him in the corral by himself, which was something he was never supposed to do. But he wanted to pet the palomino pony he discovered. Tio Cip had swatted his bottom but it didnít hurt as much as Papaís and Tia Mariaís. Then he made Johnny pull weeds in Tia Mariaís garden. Bad boy list? But Tia Maria said he did a good job. Good boy list?
Tonight Santa was coming and Johnny was so afraid he was on the bad boy list, and that tomorrow morning there would be coal in his stocking. Big brother told him bad boys got coal instead of presents. This was distressing news.
Scott sat on the sofa reading his little brother a Christmas story, but Johnny didnít hear it. His forlorn little brother sat in front of the fireplace and tried not to cry.
Finally Papa came into the great room and picked Johnny up and cuddled him against Papaís chest. He told Scott and Johnny it was time to go to bed because Santa doesnít come until all the boys and girls are in bed and asleep.
It was so hard for Johnny to fall asleep, he kept hearing all kinds of noises. If he was still awake would Santa leave? Johnny tossed and turned and finally fell into an exhausted sleep. He dreamed about Santa.
And hoped there would be no coal in the morning.