Jesse Ross, missing from Chicago, IL since 11/21/2006
ne of my fondest Christmas memories as a boy was going to the Orpheum theatre in Wichita with my dad to see Santa. We also saw Tex Ritter (the late father of the late John Ritter of Three’s a Company fame). Tex was one of the early singing cowboys, like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. We received Christmas stockings and the flavor of peppermint candy cane and cream filled chocolate has stayed with me to this very day.
With my own family I remember it was Jesse’s job early on to move the little mouse from pocket to pocket on our Christmas calendar, a job he took very seriously. He and Andy would pass out gifts Christmas morn. Jesse would leave Santa cookies and milk, but He would also leave gifts for Santa, a toy truck or car, or a stuffed animal. He would have been hurt if Santa hadn’t taken these things, so Santa did. I imagine he recycled them to some needy child somewhere.
Andy in bright pj’s and curly blonde hair, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, was the Christmas poster boy. In contrast to Jesse’s burning energy, Andy quietly took in the experience. Andy got his first bicycle for Christmas and it was huge (by little boy standards). Being practical parents we felt he would grow into it and it would last him a long time (parents beware practicality). He accepted it with quiet grace, but I think he would have been justified in saying “Are you nuts? How am I supposed to get on this thing, it’s a tank!”
Donna made sure we got to church; she made sure everyone ate a good breakfast. And that every Christmas was a time of love. She also made sure we went to the tree lot and cut down a fresh tree each year. For me this was a love hate relationship. Hauling that tree around in the cold was a pain, but the experience with Donna and the boys was wonderful. We bought hot chocolate for a quarter while they prepared the tree. Andy and Jesse were in charge of the two wheeled cart for transporting the tree through the lot. I remember one Christmas Andy was sitting on the long handles sticking out the front of the cart and Jesse was sitting on the back of the cart. I had cut the tree and said “bring the cart”. Andy jumped up and the handles on the cart flew skyward. The back of the cart thudded into the ground and Jesse did a back flip out of the cart. I think he landed on his head, which might explain some things about his behavior in later years.
Andy, Jesse, and I had the job of putting sprinkles on the Christmas cookies Donna would bake. We also had to sample them on a regular basis for quality. Christmas cookies had a short lifespan at our house.
On Nov 21st 2006 Jesse disappeared in Chicago during a Model UN convention. Now Christmas is spent with family and friends and we hold dear those who are here and hold out hope that Jesse will be with us again.
Written with love by Don Ross, father of Jesse Ross
Learn more about Jesse