Miller Time
Miracle on Cahuenga
By Grady Miller
Jan 20, 2008 - 10:32:06 AM

  VARIOUS—Two weeks before Christmas my 6-year-old daughter wrote a letter to Santa Claus, addressed to the North Pole.  In the letter she asked for a doll, a make-up kit, and a limousine.  Yes, a limousine. 

    As an extra gesture she enclosed two crisp dollar bills.  She then folded it into an envelope, addressed it to the North Pole, and badgered me to get a stamp on it.  After reminding me every five minutes to take it to the post office, I finally obliged her and scribbled our return address on the envelope before dutifully dropping it into a mailbox on Fairfax.

    Christmas came and New Year's, desultory with the impending end of the celebrations, sped by on its heels.  Then the rat race, temporarily halted by the holiday season, launched anew.  It was already the second Wednesday night of the New Year and I brought Galaxia home from the baby sitter.  I opened the gate to our house and saw the outline of a bundle in the dark. My immediate thought, Who put this garbage in my yard? 

        I lifted it, noting its heft, and a scent of fresh vinyl drifted to my nose.  In the darkness, I made out a tag, "To Galaxia. . ."  How many people knew we were living here in this exact location?  Only a handful.  We'd just moved to Cahuenga Boulevard a couple of months ago.  And the giver managed to get the belated bundle to our improbable address, which includes 1/8.  Then in the dim light of living room, I read the rest of the tag: "Your $2 is inside the make-up kit.  Santa."

        Oh my God!

        The bag, decorated with angels, contained a ballerina Barbie, a change of doll clothes and the piece-d'-résistance, a make up kit, hot pink vinyl fringed by glossy patent-black trim, dotted by white polka dots and a mini-Eiffel Tower motif.  Lift up the flap, and the case, lined by hot pink velvet, contained a dazzling array of paints, powders and enough cosmetic paraphernalia for a budding diva.  It was crowded with a powder puff, a mirror, a satin sleeping mask. Four kinds of glitter powder, three kinds of lip gloss, four bottles of nail polish, body glitter.  In the second drawer, fitted with a tiny silver handle, eye shadow all the colors of desert paintbrush, the third contained hair bands with stars and pink and purple daisies, a comb and fake fingernails that Galaxia wanted to put on with Super Glue.  And yes, folded inside the kit were the two dollars, the same crisp two dollars she had enclosed in the letter to Santa Claus.

        My daughter was still poring over her new goodies as I found a note inked in felt tip, and a round, clear, readable script:

 

        Dearest Galaxia,

 

        I hope you like your presents this year!  I can see you smiling right now.  Make sure you work very hard at school and love and respect your friends and family!

 

        Love, Santa

 

        I, who had sent the letter to the North Pole with jaundiced adult expectations, was flooded the magic of it all.  Since this mysterious delivery happened, the glow hasn’t left and I want to share it with the world.  There is somebody wonderful out there, doing magical things and leaving a legacy of cherished moments.  On the other hand, my daughter wasn't so impressed by Santa or the inexplicable appearance of the gift; she couldn't wait to show off her super duper new cosmetic case to her school friends.  But at her six years she is still unjaded and innocent enough to overlook the fact the Santa forgot the limo.



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