A Day In The Life Of Santa
|| by Jacques Pierre Losier|
The One Armed Writer
Thanks to Ray ....Missouri
December 16, 2012
This is a story that I've been saving since I happened upon Ray the
Writer about a year ago in a sleepy, rural farming town in Missouri.
He has a striking resemblance to Santa Claus with no fake beard just
his smile, a real white beard and the reassurance of his wife Marilyn
who has been with him over 45 years that he is cute. How could he
refuse when asked by a local businesswoman who carries his books in
her store when she asked him to be Santa Claus at City Hall?
"Christmas is the season when everyone, or at least the young at heart and those magically
inclined, wants the answer to the question. "Is there a Santa?" And for once, I know the answer
It all started when Susie, a local businesswoman who carries my book said, "Would you be
the town's Santa this year?" At first I was somewhat thrown back by the question. For yes,
while I do have a white beard, and yes, I have white hair, and yes, I am somewhat horizontally
challenged, the image that I was trying to display that morning while signing books was of
Papa Hemingway. It was somewhat disconcerting to find that I overshot my mark and somehow entered the fourth stage of Santa life.
You see, I have passed through the great stages of life: (1) You believe in Santa, (2) You do not believe in Santa, (3) You are Santa, (4) and finally, You look like Santa. It's the 'You look like Santa' stage that allows me to come to you now and reveal the answer to the question that all inquiring minds really want to know. I am going to report, as they say, from the front line.
Unfortunately for me, I was not alone in the store the morning Susie made the request, for at
my elbow was my wife Marilyn. Before I could get to the "Gee, Susie, I would love to, but
that is the day (fill in the blank with any important, and non postponable event)," Marilyn
whispered, "You'd be so cute." Now consider that after forty-five years of marriage, being cute to your life companion is no small thing. Gone are the days when she sees me as handsome or heroic, so cute is even better than OK. But, while I might in fact be available, I was not going to be easy. I gave Susie the all-purpose, postponement fallback line: "Let me check my calendar and get back to you." It was sort of an "I'll have my people, call your people" gambit.
Needless to say, given that "my people" thought I'd make a cute Santa, the gambit failed. The
day finally arrived, and there I was in full regalia. The suit the town provided fit nicely and
without padding. I was somewhat put off by the fact that the belt was a tiny bit short, a matter
which Marilyn readily fixed. I really must do something about the horizontally challenged issue. Perhaps a New Year's Resolution is in order.
Regardless, I was resplendent! You just have to love a man in uniform. The mirror returned
a figure, if not handsome, surely cute. After a few practiced "HO HO HO's," I was off to city
hall (no, no reindeer, I took my car). There I was met by two small girls dressed in green tights
and pointy hats, who were cold, but excited to perform the elfin duties that day. Thankfully,
within minutes, our conveyance arrived, a small train pulled by a John Deere lawn tractor. Did I mention that we live in a small rural town?
During the ride down main street, the sidewalks were empty. I wondered whether anyone would be out to see Santa on such a day. As Santa's Workshop came into view, there they were, parents, grandparents, toddlers and tween, lined up all the way around the square, smiling, and waving, warmed by heavy coats and mittens, and the Christmas spirit. A few Ho Ho Ho's later, and we were set.
One by one, the elves presented every child to Santa Claus. Well, almost every child ? some only peeked from behind Mom's legs. But, most hopped onto my lap with eyes wide in anticipation and aspiration in their hearts. Clearly and boldly they stated their dreams and wishes: "I wanta Hanna Montana Bean Bag Chair…" "I want a pony…" "I want a doll that pees…" "I want a combine…" "I want a robot…" One young boy patiently worked his way to the head of the line, only to run screaming for the door, as if chased by demons. He and his Dad returned to the back of the line to try again later. I saw him several times that morning, or at least the back of him as he headed for the door. Finally, success. He wants a Transformer mask, preferably Optimus Prime. A few times, I saw parents wince, as they heard their child's requests. These are hard times for small town America. But, when all things fail, hope springs eternal.
Hour after hour they came, the large, the small, the young, and the not so young. The smallest
was a five week old, her proud young mother standing by - dad, camera in hand, recording
the event. A family legacy in the making, this was their first picture of many to be taken
over the years with Santa. I suppose the oldest to sit on my lap were the two cheerleaders,
each whispering to Santa their gift desires. The girls giggled as they posed for the picture.
Perhaps they came in jest, or maybe to recapture memories of Christmas past. I shall refrain
from revealing the desires of these two young women. Let me just summarize their lists in the
immortal words of Jan Barrett, "Veni, vidi, Visa." (We came, we saw, we went shopping.)
Our little farming community has a good crop of kids this year. I know this because in all of
my questioning, " Were you good or bad this year," all confirmed their goodness. Well, there
was a question about one child. He climbed onto my lap and immediately pulled my beard.
He was shocked to find that it was real. No faux Santa here. As he left, I heard him say to his
grandfather, "He's the real Santa, Paw Paw, he has white nose hair."
How quickly did the day pass? In a heartbeat. A blink of an eye, a wrinkle of the nose, and it
was done. Such beautiful children, loving parents, and a great tradition. Each child promised to
provide chocolate chip cookies (Santa's favorite) and to be really, really good to their mothers,
and to be asleep, and not peek when I arrived on Christmas Eve. Several wanted me to know that I should not try the chimney, that maybe the door was better.
It was a good day, a day of great traditions, a cold day made warm by the love of family and
friends. Why did the parents bundle up and bring their kids into the cold morning? It is because Santa and the Spirit of Christmas are built on the love of children and hope for the future. Like the season, the day was quickly gone. I think I'll go and hang out at Susie's, not that I want to be asked again for next year, but just in case."
Short bio: Dr. Edge is the author of several textbooks and works of archaeological fiction; he currently
resides with his wife Marilyn, family, llamas, hair sheep, and other gentle creatures in
Montgomery City, Missouri. Thank you Ray from Missouri.
Always and a Day