Twas the Night the Mailbox Appeared

Christine T. Nguyen—The North State Journal
Santa Claus waves to the crowd during the Raleigh Christmas Parade on Saturday

As the Christmas season approaches, towns across the Old North State have surprises and traditions for each and every one. In the Town of Tarboro, a shiny red mailbox magically appears to deliver letters to Santa Claus. Read on and hear how the children drop their letters in the post box and receive a return letter from the famous man in the red hat himself.Twas the night after Thanksgiving, when all through the houseNot a creature was stirring, not even the old farm mouse;The days are being counted down with care,Knowing St. Nicholas soon would be there;In the Old North State, children were snug as a bug in a rugDrifting to sleep while visions of toys, dolls and barbeque in their thoughts did tug.I in my bunny slippers and daddy in his baseball cap,The fluffy cat curled up in my lap,There is a story they say that is told at the corner dinerOf how children are mailing letters — to that jolly ole’ timer.In a quiet little town, just East of here,A shiny red mailbox in the night does appear.Where did it come from? Do you know? For the tale they say takes quite the wit.The Town of Tarboro is where the mailbox does sit.Listen, wonder and figure it out.There’s a surprise in here somewhere, no doubt.Why the elves have been so lively and quick,To help the children in town send a letter to St. Nick.His helpers have hammered, bolted and painted each mailbox as they cameWhile St. Nick himself, laughed, whistled and called them by name,”Well done Rudy and Rita, Betsy and Boone!Let’s finish soon and deliver them under the light of the moon.”The red paint does shine, and now the seal must be put in placeThe North Pole Express — it does say — as it takes up the center space.”To the sleigh we must go! Down South we must travel!Tie the bow tightly so it shouldn’t unravel!”Through the leaves and cold air do they fly,Straight through the twinkling stars and night sky;Up to the top of the Main Street Post Office they flewWith the mailbox to bring, and St. Nicholas too —And then, in a scamper, they trickled down from the roofLeaving the reindeer prancing and pawing with each little hoof.Quickly they worked, and as they were turning around,Down the flag pole St. Nicholas came with a bound.With a wiggle in his step and twinkle in his eye,He watched as Rufus came strolling by.He giggled and winked and tossed a treat to the dog,Knowing he was the one who saw how the mailbox came to town during the midnight fog.It is a secret that has long been kept,Of just how those letters are written and returned in step.The children will compose, draw, glue and sprinkle with loveA list and wish and a cheer for above.The children come after the rise of the morning sunAnd drop their Letters to St. Nicholas in the box by the ton.Each child’s letter must have a return addressOr sending a reply can be quite the mess.You heard correctly I say, jolly old St. Nicholas writes backTo ensure a letter will arrive before he must pack his gift sack.For the surprise to the children is bewildering and merryLeaving their faces to shine bright like a cherry.Now that the mailbox has arrived, St. Nick with his red cheeks and round bellyMust spring to his sleigh and dash off in search of a biscuit with grape jelly.He exclaimed as he began to leave,”I’ll be back on Christmas Eve!”