By Wanda Clark Payne
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — On March 31, 1944, a gasoline truck exploded in Oklahoma City, taking the lives of our dad and four other souls and leaving a wife and three small children and their grandmother.
Our dear mother stepped up, got two jobs and gave us a very happy childhood. She always made sure we had Christmas.
The one that was special came in 1949. Our brother worked as a package boy at the only Safeway in Norman, located at Webster Avenue and Main Street.
The manager was Mr. James Browning. That special Christmas started at Christmas Eve (closing time). All the aunts, uncles and cousins were gathered on this holiday and most others at our house, which was always just fine with us kids.
About 9:30 p.m., there was a knock at the door, and there stood Mr. Browning. He told us that Santa’s sleigh had broken down and he needed the uncles to help deliver the toys. Of course, they were willing to help. They returned with food and toys leftover from Safeway.
We were as happy as if Santa himself had been there. When we became adults, we understood how it happened, but we still all believe in Santa.
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