It’s long been said that the night before Mountain Day is the most sacred night of the year. But for some of these people, it’s also the most exciting night of the year. After Scott Lewis knocked on President Mandel’s bedroom door for the fifth time tonight asking if tomorrow would be Mountain Day, she put on her slippers, went down to the kitchen, made Lewis a steaming cup of cocoa, and made a deal with him. “I see how excited you are, buddy,” she said to Lewis. “But I can’t tell you tonight. You have to go to sleep before the presents can be delivered.”
Lewis took a few moments before answering, as he had burned his tongue on a foolishly large first sip of cocoa. “I’ll be here at 6 to start opening presents,” he said.
Mandel gave Lewis a stern look. “You can come wake me up at 7,” she said. “If you don’t get a good night’s sleep, you’ll end up being too tired to play with your presents in the afternoon.”
Lewis appeared to be content with the final agreement. He inched his stool closer to the counter to take another large sip of cocoa and started joyfully swinging his legs, which were dangling several inches above the ground.
Mandel privately revealed to the Haystack that she had bought Lewis three gifts: a hammock, a frisbee, and a wagon for pulling large quantities of apple cider donuts. The presents were sitting in plain sight on Mandel’s dining room table. “It’s easy to hide things from Scott,” she explained. “Any spot that’s indoors is completely foolproof.”
Mandel admitted that she wished Lewis could express his excitement without coming into her house, but said she doesn’t mind too much because she knows how special Mountain Day is to him. “You have to understand, Mountain Day is his Christmas,” she said.
When asked whether this characterization was accurate, Lewis agreed that Mountain Day was his favorite holiday, but added that “Christmas is a close second, because that’s the only day I’m allowed to bring trees into the house.”
“Actually, they’re toads,” Lewis said, when we told him we liked the frogs on his footie pajamas. “A lot of people get that wrong.”
“Look,” Mandel told us, while tousling Lewis’s boyishly unkempt hair. “The thing that really makes me happy on Mountain Day is seeing that Scott’s happy. It’s really not about me. Sure, it’d be nice to get an extra hour of sleep, or to not have knocks on my door all night, or for those knocks to be from my children, or for those knocks to be from children at all, but nothing beats seeing Scott open up those presents in the morning.”