I was honored to be invited to the North Pole last year and interview Santa's Elves. This year, much to my surprise, I received an e-mail from Mrs. Claus requesting a private meeting at the Kringles' personal gym. She said she wanted this to be a discreet interview and knew Santa would never show up around any exercise equipment.
Being the dedicated reporter I've always been, I arrived on time and began questioning Mrs. Claus.
Dedicated Reporter: Mrs. Claus, I was taken off guard by your request for this interview to be conducted without the knowledge of your husband. I certainly hope you don't have any dire news of his impending retirement.
Mrs. Claus: Oh, heavens no! Santa would never consider retiring. He enjoys his work too much for that. No, this is more of a personal request for you to let the children of Columbia County know how special they are to Santa and to ask one tiny favor.
DR: Thank goodness! I knew there was something terribly wrong. But just to let you know, all of our children love Santa without question.
Mrs. C: Such a sweet thing to say! I am a little troubled about Santa's physical health. Nothing has come up as yet, but he's not getting any younger and pays absolutely no attention to my requests of watching what he eats and exercising more.
DR: I'm a bit confused. Just what is it you need our children to do?
Mrs.C: Well now, it's about all those cookies and hot chocolate they leave on Christmas Eve. He has such a sweet tooth that it's impossible for him to leave them or bring them home to the hard-working elves. He eats every single one!
DR: It's a tradition. If they left nothing for him, they might be afraid of being slighted.
Mrs. C: Santa would never forget any child. What I'm asking is either leave some fruit or fat-free cookies and, if they make hot chocolate, do it with skim milk. Do you have any idea how many calories are in the hundreds of sweets left for him every year? Of course, you won't hear him complaining. I've started trying to cook healthier, but then I catch him slipping into the elves' kitchen looking for something else to eat. It wouldn't be so bad if he exercised a little. I had this gym built 10 years ago and don't believe I've ever seen him come through the door.
DR: You know, your problem sounds very much like many of us in Georgia. I will be sure to let the families know of your concerns and, hopefully, they will follow through. In the meantime, can I take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas and let you know how much we appreciate all your work. It must be hard cooking and cleaning after Santa, all his elves and the reindeer.
Mrs. C: Oh, my dear, don't be fooled by my quiet demeanor. I can crack a whip with the best of them. Thank you for coming all this way and give the children my love. They are all so important in our lives all year long.
DR: I'll be sure to pass that on. Thank you once again for your hospitality.
While flying away in the spare sleigh Mrs. Claus uses for shopping and such, I thought what a special woman she was. Not only does she care for Santa. She also cares very deeply for our children.
(Pat Fickle is a Martinez resident.)
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