Every year now, he dresses up as Santa Claus for all the schools in his area. He also rides in the parades. So in June, he starts growing out his hair and beard in preparation for his winter duties.
So, he started “playing” Santa Claus quite a few years ago, (I really don’t remember what year it was), but I remember clearly one year he had played Santa, and freaked my cousin Phil out. I think Phil was like 3 years old at the time.
But I don’t think he is really “playing” Santa anymore. I think that when he lets his hair and beard grow out, and puts that suit on, he really becomes the man. During this time of the year, kids start following him around in wonder. At the gas station, at Wal-Mart, anywhere, kids will start following him around, tugging on their parent’s sleeves, giggling. So Dad will turn and look at them, and give them a low “ho, ho, ho.” How cool is that?
The first year that he became Santa Claus, the stories that he told me about his experiences were heart wrenching. You could hear it in his voice how affected he was by the kids he talked to. One little girl asked him if she could have “her Daddy back” for Christmas. Later on, he found out that the little girl’s Dad had died saving her from drowning. How do you respond to that?
My sister Amanda told me about one little girl that had seen a mall Santa. The little girl asked Santa if she could have seeds for the family garden for Christmas. Families down in that area are pretty poor, and you know, that little girl was thinking of her family. So the mall Santa says to her “wouldn’t you rather a doll or a toy?” After a while, the little girl just accepts the fact that Santa only gives toys, so she agrees with him and says she would like a doll instead. Amanda was there for the whole episode.
The next day, my Dad was Santa at that little girl’s school. Amanda told Dad what had happened at the mall with the mall Santa, and gave Dad a bag of seeds. It had carrots, cukes, squash, and all kinds of vegetables. So the little girl gets on Dad’s lap. “What would you like for Christmas little girl” asked my Dad. The little girl looks at him and says “I would like a doll.”
“Wouldn’t you rather have some seeds for your garden?” Dad asked, and produced the bag with the seeds in it. “You really are Santa, aren’t you?” That little girl’s hopes were boosted and forever changed by my Dad; Santa Claus.
This year he changed his glasses to better complete the illusion, and he absolutely nails it. You tell me. You think he nails it?
Ron Simoneau© 12-17-2014