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I was very excited and smiling from ear to ear. It was several days before Christmas and all the children from the Children's Home Society Orphanage had been loaded in several large buses. We were being taken to the Mayflower Hotel in downtown Jacksonville, Florida to attend a Christmas party for under privileged kids.

We stood behind our assigned seats, until the man on the stage said a prayer. Then he told everyone to sit down. Within minutes, we were served a meal fit for a king. We received our meals on glass plates, plates filled with large pieces of meat and many green vegetables. There were two big, puffy rolls with real butter on a small dish beside each plate. I ate until I could eat no more. I remember thinking how nice it would be to eat that kind of food every day. How wonderful it would be to go to bed at night without my stomach hurting.

As we ate, there were people performing some type of a Christmas play up on the large stage. All at once, the lights dimmed and everyone became quiet. When the lights turned back up, Santa Claus came walking out onto the stage. The kids went wild with excitement. Everyone began clapping their hands and yelling as loud as they could.

I too, was excited inside, but I knew better than to yell aloud or to jump up and scream. Mrs. Winters, the head matron, sat only three seats from me. She made it very clear to everyone that we were to conduct ourselves in “a proper manner" and there was to be "no yelling or screaming.” Therefore, I just sat with my hands underneath my legs. However, I sure wanted to yell out, 'cause I was really, happy inside.

One orphan at a time was led up onto the stage and Santa Claus handed each child a gift.

"Please let me get a large gift,” I kept thinking.

As the line became shorter and shorter, my turn finally came. Santa looked at me, smiled and then winked. He reached over and handed me a large box, which had two gold ribbons on it. As I leaned to take the box, I tripped and fell to my knees. Santa reached over and helped me to my feet.

"Move it along, Kiser," yelled Mother Winters.

I was now leaning against Santa Claus’ leg and looking directly into his eyes. His face was less than an inch from mine.

"Can I hug you, Santa?" I asked.

The next thing I knew, Mother Winters snatched me up by my shirt collar and pulled me away. Santa stood up, raised his hand into the air and yelled, "MA'AM, PLEASE! THESE ARE LITTLE CHILDREN!"

Mother Winters never even looked back. She just kept on walking and pushing me down the stairs, which led back into the eating area. I sat down in my chair crying. Occasionally, I looked up at the stage to see if my gift was still sitting by Santa Claus.

When the party was over, Mother Winters hurried us back to our busses. We all lined up waiting to board.

"HO, HO, HO," I heard coming from behind me.

I turned around and there stood Santa Claus holding my large box. He sat it down on the ground beside me. Then he knelt down and hugged my neck as hard as he could.

"Am I a children?" I whispered.

"You’re a good children," he said as he let go of my neck.

When I looked up into his face, I saw something that no one else in the world has ever seen. I saw that Santa himself had been crying.

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