By Clare Simon Q LY BOOTS and I were arguing the other day about whether Father Christmas really exists. 1 told Slyhoots in a very grown up way that, although it was nice to pretend. there wasn't any Father Christmas, or if there was he was really only St. Nicholas.
" Nonsense," said Slyhoots. " Don't you remember last Christmas 1 put out all four of my socks at the end of my bed and when 1 got up there was a bone in each of them. They lasted me until New Year's Day," " Look," said 1, " Father Christmas is supposed to come from Greenland, and where would he have found a bone there? " " One of his reindeer might have been roasted. Anyway.. I am not going to not believe in him, whatever you say. in case he gets so cross he doesn't bring me anything this )ear." Well, you'll be glad to hear the whole matter was settled once and for all. Just before we left France we paid a last visit to one of the big toyshops, with all their glittering toys. And what do you think we heard'? The voice of Father Christmas, He said: " this is Father Christmas. I am speaking to all good little children, If you want to sec me come along to my corner on the top floor." Well! We hurried along and there he was. Of course, being a French Father Christmas, he spoke in French and this made Slyboots even more certain that he couldn't possibly be anyone dressed up. I'm not quite so sure. What do you think?
Gospel in Fret eh T EXPECT a lot of you have 1 Dialogue Mass at school. I was very interested when 1 was in I ranee to go to Mass in a very small village church and see that, as well as having Dialogue Mass, the priest lets one of the congregation read the Epistle and the Gospel in the language of the people. And during the Creed and after the Consecration the congregation sing hymns which use roughly the words which the priest is saying on the altar. Some people might not think all this a very good idea, but certainly everyone joined in much more. Of course, as you've probably guessed, it wasn't much good to me! I wish I'd learned French better at school.
Double collection ANOTHER thing which seemed a good idea was the way they did the collections. They had two collections but instead of having one before and one after the Consecration, they passed the plates around one after the other. This meant you only had to get your purse out once, Slyboots' Card f" just had a card from Slyboots which says: Happy Christmas to you all, Specially if you're very small, On Christmas Day, if you've
been good, 1 hope they give you lots of food.
This may not be very good poetry but we know he means what he says. He is always good for days before Christmas and then spends the day after Christmas curled up in his basket saying every now and then: "I wonder why I feel so odd."