Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Eve Santa dines on split pea soup

      In a Face Time interview at the North Pole, Santa Claus predicts that Christmas 2014 will be the best ever recorded in cyber history. That’s tweet-able @OfficialSanta.  
     Precision GPS live reindeer tracking. Advanced worldwide weather technology. Biodegradable gift packaging.  
      Wait. Santa Claus has made this promise since scribes were recording on parchment with quill pens dipped into ink jars.
      Remarkably in this day and age, Santa delivers, too. Free. On time.
     How many years has Santa cruised the world while little children slept all snuggled in their beds? You know the visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads part, and you can repeat the beautiful, magical lines to the season’s favorite poem.
     Santa Claus has heard everything coming from the mouths of tiny tots. Two front teeth requested here. A dauschound puppy there. A new baby sister. Reunite mom and dad. Make grandpa well.  Mind you, Santa, in no particular order.
     Children are prompted by well-intentioned parents to sit on his knee at the mall  — “find pictures of presents on Pinterest, Santa” —  and smile for the camera. Photobombing by older brothers is strictly prohibited.
     Hopefully, Santa doesn’t traumatize a preschooler walking the toy aisle in a mega store. It’s happened, and he’s been told in no uncertain terms by parents to quit being so jolly and imposing. Stranger Danger out there.
     Sadly, the lists grow longer and longer by the year — text messages in shorthand hard to decipher — and more often than not, it takes the entire elf staff to puzzle over certain requests. LOL.
     Expensive gifts, too. iPhone. Xbox. Smartwatch. Boogie Board eWriter.
      Alas, most of these kids get one of each, too, a thing almost unheard of in the past. The sleigh is weighted down and the reindeer have their paws full gaining momentum while accelerating to carry the load.
     “My, my how things have changed,” says Santa of the wooden blocks and tops that made children happy for decades.
     Years ago Santa would slide down the chimney, drop off the gifts and look near the dining room for a glass of milk and a cookie. He’s sampled them all — chocolate chip, lemon, decorated gingerbread and peanut butter crisp. After umpteen homes, Santa was content with a job well done, and another calendar year completed.

    In the 21 century, Santa chows down on Kentucky Fried crispy drumsticks, Dunkin cappuccino and bison filled tacos. Even Chinese take out works in a jiff. Family time has gone out the window, and as for the meaning of the holiday, it’s been lost in the shuffle.
     Santa feels a little depersonalized like “one size fits all” thanks to sneaky parents hanging around the corners watching him in action. The pictures are posted to Facebook before daybreak showing off the whopping sum of their gift expenditure.
     Well, as I said, Santa doesn’t know what to expect from this younger generation, and pretty much rolls with the punches on the big night hoping for enough trail mix to make the return trip with fuel in his belly and energy for a post-season elf party.  
      Somewhere around the 42.5681° N, 77.5919° W in Upstate New York, Santa Claus pulls in the reins and circles a small green home on a back road. It doesn’t appear to have many decorations on the outside to help for landing accuracy, but then again, Santa uses the moon pasted on the dark sky to guide the reindeers down silently on the rooftop.

     There are gifts to deliver – a small number at this house of modest proportions. Santa chuckles, though, when he envisions the little boy and girl asleep upstairs.
     Santa remembers from the children’s Christmas wish list letter — an old fashioned note written in complete sentences — that dad had been laid off, mom is not well and generally, things are difficult. He grabs an extra puzzle, two pairs of warm fuzzy mittens, a candy cane or four and slides down the chimney.
     The inside is cozy. Sure enough, there is a small fir tree decorated with homemade popcorn and tinsel, and a kitty cat underneath defending his position. It isn’t quite the spectacle as in homes worshipping consumerism where Santa sees two trees necessary for the mounds of gifts.
     Santa tiptoes around the tree and places the presents. As he turns to head back up the chimney, a delightful aroma hits him reminding him of the soup Mrs. Claus fixes on chilly evenings when he comes in from toiling in the toy workshop worried about meeting his magical deadline.
      He sees a simple dining room table covered by a red cloth. There is a gallon pot with steam pouring out of the lid, a ceramic bowl and a big spoon set out. Candles flicker and a yellow paper crown rests nearby.
     A handmade kid’s sign on lined school notebook paper says, “Eat up, Santa. Life is too good not to share.”
     And that’s how it is that Santa dines on the best split pea soup ever, and feels the love pouring from this family in their giving of a gift made from their own hard work in the kitchen.
     After filling himself and leaving a “thank you” note, Santa is delighted that one family got the spirit of the season.

      The “list” the world hands you of what is “important” is a long one, and it is both foolish and impossible. If you fall for it, you neglect the short list. Only a few things truly have a profound effect on your well-being and success.