December 14, 2015
It has been a long time since I interviewed Santa Claus, however I had a chance to renew our friendship last week at the Ag Hall of Fame. I used to talk with Santa every year after his visit to the local Chamber of Commerce. That ended about 15 years ago, and the last time I talked with the chubby senior citizen from the north was 2005 at the YMCA.
I was happy to find Santa sitting in the depot visiting with children as they waited to ride the miniature train or go to the red barn to enjoy games, hot chocolate or cookies. Santa was helped by some very nice young people who were certainly on the good list.
“I’m certainly glad to see you again,” Santa said. “It looks like you’ve aged and gained a little weight. Ho, ho, ho! That’s not something I worry about.”
“This is a very nice program,” I said. “I’m sure you are talking to a lot of very good boys and girls.”
“Yes, that’s right,” he said. “I enjoy the children. They are so honest. I asked a little boy if he had been good and he turned to his mother and said ‘Have I?’ She said yes.”
I asked about the changes in gift requests that Santa had received over the years.
“Well, they’re different, and there are a lot more now. Back a hundred years ago a ball, a rag doll, an orange or candy was what I heard,” he said. “For example in the old days, if a youngster requested a tablet, well that was a red notebook with big lines on the pages for writing. Now, well a tablet is an electronic device. Cell phones are popular, too. There is a huge request list for video games and something called a drone. Yes, things have changed in some ways.”
“Oh some of the older toys are still popular,” he added. “Barbie is still high on the list and tiny girls will always want a baby doll. I’ve had a lot of ‘Thomas Train’ requests, too. There will always be a demand for baseballs, basketballs and footballs. Now I’m getting a lot of calls for soccer equipment.”
I asked him if the world situation and terror threats had made children more apprehensive now.
“Oh, no,” he said. “Sadly danger and fear have always been around, and children have always faced concerns. For example, think what life was like for a child during the Civil War or growing up in an isolated area in the west. Everyone was afraid during the flu epidemic of 1919 or the time when polio ravaged many young bodies. Times weren’t easy during the Depression or certainly during World War II. The wonderful part of this is some of today’s children will solve the problems. I know these youngsters will make a better world. Every generation before them have made improvements in the quality of life.”
He added that we live in a different world now than back in the 1940s when I first visited him.
“Yes, the world is different, and I would like to give adults the ability to embrace change because it will happen,” he said.
Santa asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I told him that I have all I desire: A wonderful family and good health. I added that if I would have anything it would be a world without hatred, violence, racism or poverty.
Santa smiled and answered “that is a job for the next generation. By the way, I know you love cookies and they have some good ones at the red barn. Maybe we’ll talk again next year.”
Originally published at: http://www.bonnersprings.com/news/2015/dec/14/chatting-santa-always-treat/