Read Those Facebook Posts Carefully
It seemed innocent enough. My cousin Trish Hudson had been talking about having my wife and I, along with my sisters over for a meal sometime. My sister’s birthday had just passed a couple of days earlier, and I got one of those notifications in Facebook that said “Trish Hudson mentioned you in a post”. I clicked the link, glanced at it quickly, and totally misunderstood.
Donna Dodson good idea! Herb Parsons are you available Sunday at 3:00 for an hour? Dinner to go, cookies, and a cake will be ready
Somehow, my constantly sleep-deprived and and naturally inattentive brain translated that into “Let’s all have dinner”, and I assumed it was for Donna’s birthday.
Then, later when I was in front of a computer instead of my phone, I saw the whole post:
Book Club just a couple of days away and Santa has the flu. If anyone would be willing to come play Santa for an hour, please let me know. It’s a surprise for Briley and our Littles. And, I bought the suit already. The job also comes with dinner and cookies to go. I feel like here is where I should hashtag a million different things about last minute party/book club emergencies. Instead I am just going to say HELP!
To which my dear sister replied
Call herb and offer him a cake…
I’m sure she was trying to get me back for something from our childhood days. Our childhood was 50+ years ago, but she’s got a good memory, and I had some pretty memorable “somethings”.
Anyway, I didn’t see the full context until after I had already told her that Gini and I would be there. I’ve done a thing or two in my life that might be called callous, but I wasn’t going to disappoint some kids, even if it meant I had to wear a Santa outfit.
Yeah, that’s me in the picture. Pretty sad looking Santa, but even if they weren’t fooled, the kids seemed happy to have me there. I didn’t think the hat was going to fit, my head is pretty big and it looked like it was designed for a small child. Fortunately, it was slightly stretchy, so it went on. I tried the beard, but there was no way it was going to work. The thing had fake hair going up my nose, the hole for the mouth was about an inch and half across, and I couldn’t talk or eat. I asked Trish if I could get by using my way too short, but far more realistic real beard, and got the OK.
I’m still not sure if the “Littles” (as the group calls their kids) were fooled, or just being polite, but they were enthusiastic. However, one little guy named London almost immediately shouted out:
You’re a fake Santa!!
Now, I was a bit of a smart-alack when I was a kid. Some folks tell me I still am. Besides, he was about 6 and I’m ten times his age, so I was quick on the response:
OK, I’m bringing you fake presents for Christmas.
As a small side note; when I was his age, I informed all my classmates that there was no Santa. In response, my mother taught me a lesson. The biggest present under the tree was for me (I had 4 siblings), and it was beautifully decorated. Of course, it was the first choice of presents for me to open when it was my turn. You can imagine the look on my face when I found it was empty except for a note on the bottom that said:
Sorry, no Santa no presents.
Now, don’t be too harsh on my Mom, I still got plenty of presents that year. However, even though I was only 7, I was smart enough to learn from that lesson. I suspect London was as at least as smart as the 7 year old version of me. He chilled on the accusations, and when Trish asked who wanted their pictures taken with Santa, he was one of the first to volunteer. Being the gracious Santa that I was, I invited him to sit on my fake knee for his photo. That’s him on Trish’s lap in the photo of me reading to them.
One of the other Littles asked me what happened to my long beard. I explained that it’s so much hotter in Texas I had to trim it while I was visiting. I also made it clear several times that “cookies had been promised”. I don’t know if my act convinced any of them, but they seemed to play along. The Littles all seemed anxious to sit in my lap for photos, and when we went caroling, I was invited along and they argued with each other over who got to hold “Santa’s” hand. I found out later that cookies were all made by them, which made it all that much more special.
I suppose if truth be told, I enjoyed it all as much as the kids did. Besides, Trish has already not only told me she’s making me one of her fantastic cakes for doing this, but told my sister she gets one too for the suggestion; so I’m sure I’m going to be hit up again next year. I’m already working on plans to improve the beard and work on my over-all delivery.
Long ago, when my first daughter was born, I discovered that there really is a Santa. This just gives me the opportunity to broaden that understanding some.