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The Last Windrow: The story of Clausey Sands

Everybody knows about the Grinch who stole Christmas. But, does anybody, other than my brothers and sisters, know about Clausey Sands? The distant and ill behaving relative of Santa Claus? The being that wore orange at Christmas time instead of r...

Everybody knows about the Grinch who stole Christmas. But, does anybody, other than my brothers and sisters, know about Clausey Sands? The distant and ill behaving relative of Santa Claus? The being that wore orange at Christmas time instead of red? The spirit who had mules pull his sleigh instead of reindeer?

Well, my father knew of him and he told his story every year around this time of December.

My wife mentioned to me the other day that I had not informed the general public about this dark spirit from above the Arctic Circle. She reminded me of this being in remembering one of my dad's favorite Christmas stories. He also had a story about the Easter weasel, but that tale will have to wait until next spring.

Clausey Sands was in direct opposition of Santa Claus. He didn't utter Santa's trademark, "Ho, ho, ho!" Instead, Clausey Sands' favorite utterance was "He, he, he!" He usually showed up about this time of year wearing a black beard and was on the lookout for any kid who got him or herself into trouble. He had a list and checked it twice and any kid who was misbehaving was added to his list.

He was looking for the boy who stuck a girl's pigtails into his desk's ink well at country school. The boy who put gum on the teacher's desk chair was also on his list. The kid who never did the dishes ranked right up there and any kids who defied their parents in any way topped his list.

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Clausey Sands would keep track of those misbehaving youngsters and see to it that they received not much more than a lump of coal or a corn cob in their Christmas stocking. He also had other ways of making life miserable for kids who chose the lower road of life.

If you were on Clausey's list, you might find your bicycle tires deflated on a spring morning. You might get a rotten apple in your Christmas sack that was given out by churches after the Christmas Eve children's nativity play. You might receive a pair of socks under the Christmas tree instead of the Red Rider BB gun you had been hoping for.

Nothing could be worse than that. There was no end of disagreeable things that might happen to you if you were on Clausey's list.

No doubt there was a message being delivered here by my dad. While in our minds we had been absolute angels over the past year, the story of Clausey Sands brought the truth to light. He knew when we told a white lie. He knew when we didn't fulfill a promise to clean up our room or do our assigned chores. He was aware of how many spats we had with our siblings.

Our negative side was exposed by Clausey Sands.

The only redemption we could seek was to behave in a more human manner. If we did that, Clausey and his mule team would pass over our house with nary a glance and we would be insured of receiving most of the gifts we sought.

The Clausey Sands story did have an effect on my siblings and me. For at least a month, we tended to refine our way of doing business and we were on our best behavior lest we invite Clausey into our midst. It didn't take long after Christmas for us to revert back to our normal selves and store up sins for the next Christmas.

Dr. Seuss might have invented the Grinch, but a bib-overalled farmer from northwest Iowa invented Clausey Sands much earlier.

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It was a Christmas story from the farm and we heard it long before the Grinch ever stole Christmas.

See you next time. Okay?

Related Topics: THE LAST WINDROWCHRISTMAS
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