December 25, 2010
as "Santa Memories Always Special"
Copyright © 2010 by Ralph Couey
For 17 years, I've been privileged to be a Santa. What started out as a favor to a friend has become an unforgettable part of Christmas.
It is safe to say that there is no more recognizable symbol anywhere in America, perhaps the world, than the bearded jolly old elf in red and white. From the youngest toddler, to the oldest centenarian, all recognize Santa for who he is and what he represents. For kids, he is unconditional love, and perhaps a moral and ethical rudder. That hearty "Ho! Ho! Ho!" never fails to lift spirits and bring smiles. He always brings gifts. You never know what it'll be, but like the Wells Fargo Wagon from "The Music Man," "..it could be somethin' very special just for me!"
One of my special Santa memories occurred, oddly enough, in the middle of summer.
It was a hot, humid miserable Missouri July afternoon. I was cruising the aisles of Target, searching for a few items when I saw them.