It's that time of year again! Christmas is nearly here and my usual assignment is to go interview someone at the North Pole. In the past, I have interviewed Mrs. Claus, Rudolph and some of Santa's elves. Only once have I been able to corner Santa. For some reason, he doesn't give a lot of interviews; therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to get the e-mail inviting a personal meeting with him.
I cannot begin to tell you how cold it is up here. I'm wearing long johns, a sweatsuit, two pair of socks and an extremely heavy coat with hood attached. Still, I'm freezing. If you don't know me personally, let me tell you; it takes a lot for me to get cold. Normally, no matter what the weather in Georgia, I still sweat.
Such is not the case at Santa's domain. I'm freezing my hiney off up here. But it is worth it to see the man himself.
Being greeted by Mrs. Claus is a wonderful experience. She met me at the door with a plate of fudge and hotchocolate. What more could you ask for? When she led me to Santa's office, I was actually shaking in my boots a little.
Why this year? Why did he personally request this interview? Well, as you will soon know, I found the answer.
Santa: Thank you so much for coming, Pat. I have a few things on my mind that need to be made public before this year's flight.
Me: It truly is an honor to meet with you in person, but you have piqued my curiosity.
Santa: Perhaps I'm overreacting a bit, but this past year seems to have brought sadness and anger to the children much more than normal. These young ones need to know that I will always be here for them, but I am only one person. Somehow we need to get a message to the adults. Their children are supposed to be the most important part of their lives, but that just doesn't seem to be the case right now.
Me: I understand what you're saying having noticed it first hand in many families. Do you think you can help in some way that hasn't already been tried?
Santa: Oh my dear, far be it from me to try and solve all the problems in the world. My only wish is for families to become closer. Having expensive presents under the tree just isn't enough. You very well know that I help as much as possible with that. What I can't deal with is every day life when children and parents hardly see each other. With this economy, it's understandable why both parents have to work.
Me: You are so right in that respect. But what are the adults to do? In order to keep families thriving and happy takes money. Just look at the tragedy America is going through with all of the homeless people, adults as well as children.
Santa: I agree, and I'm not saying it's wrong for both parents to work outside the home. In fact, I believe it's wonderful that women are now able to have a career, something you didn't see 30 or 40 years ago. But if they really attempt to make everything work out, it takes the dads and moms. You don't have to take them on extravagant vacations or buy them expensive presents. All that's really needed is love and attention. I am a true believer in quality time with the kids. It could take as little as 30 minutes to an hour every day.
Me: Sounds good, Santa, but it's awfully hard on the adults, working long hours, having to cook dinner, help with homework and heaven knows whatever else comes up.
Santa: Of course, it does. In many cases, it's cheaper to order take-out for dinner. Make the children part of the selection process. Have them help set the table, clear the table and whatever else needs to be done. The entire time the family could all be communicating with one another. A parent knows when something is bothering their child. If they pick up on it soon enough, it just might not get out of hand.
Me: Santa, you have really surprised me this trip. But it might be the best interview ever for me. I know people are hurting. I know children are neglected and abused. Perhaps hearing encouraging words from you could alleviate some of this.
Santa: Exactly! Well, that is really all the time I can spare right now. Go home to Georgia. Let the families know not to give up. There's still a lot of love to go around. Maybe we just need to concentrate harder to bring more of that back into the family. And merry Christmas, Georgia!
Pat Fickle is a Martinez resident.
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