Jan. 11, 2001
By Dave and Jane Scherrep
Skies had been gray in the Clemson area over the past several days, and everyone was hoping this was a sign snow was on the way. A white Christmas was very rare in this part of the country, but TC could still hope. Even without snow, he was excited beyond words as his Mom and Dad would soon be arriving to celebrate the holidays.
The Clemson Tiger and TC had decorated the house from top to bottom with colorful lights, silver tinsel, pine garland and orange tiger paws. The centerpiece was a 12-foot Virginia pine that was ablaze with twinkling lights, dozens of ornaments, and a beautiful angle on the very top. Placed around the base of the tree were numerous packages wrapped in bright orange paper with big white bows. Even with all the presents, the one item that most intrigued TC was a white envelope his Uncle had attached to a branch near the top of the tree. TC had asked for a new Silver Rider bike, and it was obvious it wasn’t parked under the tree, so just maybe the mysterious envelope contained a gift certificate from Frankie’s Cycle World. While tempted to take a peek, TC decided that the right thing was to wait till Christmas day.
Christmas week soon arrived along with TC’s Momma and Poppa who had traveled a very long way to be with their son. Momma and Poppa Tiger wanted to know all about school, meet some of TC’s friends, tour Death Valley, the Horticulture Gardens and all the famous landmarks on campus.
“The Tiger and I can take you on a tour of the university,” TC volunteered, “and two of my best friends, IPTAY Andy and Hoops from the basketball team will be eating Christmas dinner with us.”
“That sounds great Momma,” Tiger said, “but what about school?”
TC started dancing around the subject, so The Tiger jumped in to explain, “That while TC was doing pretty good in school there is still room for improvement.” Momma Tiger looked at TC and asked, “Could you consider spending a little more time reading and a little less time watching TV?” TC quickly agreed in the hopes that they would change the subject.
By Christmas Eve, TC was so excited he could hardly contain himself. He had shaken every package under the tree and asked The Tiger ten times what was in the white envelope. He also wanted to know exactly what time Santa would arrive and how he carried so many presents from the North Pole?
“That’s not important right now TC,” Poppa Tiger said, “you should be getting Santa’s snack ready.” TC filled a plate with tiger paw sugar cookies, chocolate kisses, and poured Santa a big glass of orange nog. After setting Santa’s snack close to the tree, TC kissed everyone goodnight and headed for bed. TC found it very difficult to fall asleep as his mind was filled with thoughts of family, Christmas dinner, and a new Silver Rider bike.
By about 11:30, Momma Tiger was able to report that TC had finally fallen off to sleep. TC was the first to rise Christmas morning and the first to notice that Santa had eaten his entire snack. He also noticed that Santa left several new presents under the tree but none the size of a bike. Not ready to panic quite yet, TC cranked up the Christmas music and offered to help The Tiger prepare dinner. Later that morning, IPTAY Andy and Hoops arrived, and they all went outside to play a little basketball. Hoops, who was one of the best players on the Clemson team, worked with TC on some basics then challenged Andy and TC to a game of PIG. They had only been playing about 30 minutes when Momma Tiger opened the front door and announced that Christmas dinner was ready. The Tiger gave thanks for their many blessings and invited his family and guests to “dig in”. TC made quick work of dinner, as he knew that as soon as everyone had eaten, they would start opening packages.
Momma Tiger passed the first package to TC, which he opened in about two seconds. It was a video game he had been wanting since his birthday. Presents were passed out to everyone, and the room soon began to fill with wrapping paper, gift boxes and bows. TC was almost hidden, as he rustled through the debris searching for one more package. Finally, all the gifts had been opened and things began to settle down. TC had received some wonderful gifts but was a bit disappointed that a Silver Rider bike had not materialized. He had even taken a quick look in The Tiger’s garage just before dinner and peaked out the front window in hopes of spotting the silver treasure.
” Did you enjoy your Christmas?” Momma Tiger asked TC.
“It was great Mom, I got everything I wanted.”
” I know you had your heart set on a new bike, but we just couldn’t afford it along with all our travel expenses.”
“That’s OK Mom, my old bike will do just fine, and besides I got some great presents.” Poppa Tiger looked over at TC’s Mom and winked, indicating that it was time to spring the big surprise.
“TC, would you mind going back to my room and bring me my reading glasses?” Poppa Tiger asked. “Sure Poppa, I’ll be right back,” TC said. TC moved carefully across the room as the floor was still strewn with presents and wrapping paper. TC turned down the hall, which led to the back of the house and his parent’s room. As he pushed open the bedroom door, he found his path blocked by a new 2000 Silver Rider ten speed. Maneuvering his new bike into the hall, TC pushed it towards the living room and the waiting family.
“How did you get it in the house?” TC blurted out.
“You’ll find out when you get older,” Poppa Tiger said, as everyone gathered around TC and his new treasure. A small tear worked its way from TC’s eye down to his cheek as he thanked everyone for the best Christmas of his life.
“There’s still one more present to open,” The Tiger announced, “has everyone forgotten about the envelope?” TC looked up at the tree and sure enough the mysterious envelope was still there.
“I guess I got so excited about my bike and everything that I just forgot,” TC said. The Tiger reached out with his paw and plucked the envelope from its perch high in the family tree.
“While this is for everyone TC, I’m going to let you open it.” For once, TC took his time, as he didn’t want to damage the contents.
“Gator Bowl tickets,” TC screamed, “six Gator Bowl tickets!”
“That’s right,” his Uncle said, “we’re all headed to the Gator Bowl.” “That’s if Andy’s van can make it all the way to Florida.” TC, Hoops and IPTAY Andy all went outside to watch TC try out his new bike as the adults started to clean up the whirlwind that had just been Christmas.
“He’s a fine boy,” Momma Tiger said to Poppa.
“Your right Momma, he’s a fine boy.”
September 16, 2021