Once again, your Columbia County dedicated reporter (me, of course) made the trek to the North Pole in order to interview a person instrumental in making Christmas so magical every year.
In the past, I have been lucky enough to talk to Santa, Mrs. Claus, Rudolph and even a couple of the elves. Not knowing who would be assigned to me this year, my journey was filled with thoughts of questions to ask of whomever showed up this time.
It was with great pleasure that I found Santa himself opening the North Pole chalet when I knocked on the door. Having already asked him most of the obvious inquiries, I began to ask him about something I have always been curious. It started like this:
Dedicated Reporter: Santa, first of all, let me tell you how thrilled I am that you are allowing me to interview you again. It is a great pleasure to speak to the main man.
Santa: You are more than welcome. I will answer anything you ask, as long as no secrets are revealed.
D.R.: That's more than fair. There is one thing that has always interested me and that is where you and Mrs. Claus spend your summers.
Santa: Well, the answer might surprise you. The truth is we have a home in Florida where we spend five or six months every year.
D.R.: You're joking! I would have never guessed that. How do you keep your identity secret? It seems to me every one would recognize you.
Santa: The beard and bright red suit are always replaced with a clean-shaven elderly man with shorts and a T-shirt.
D.R.: You mean to tell me that you can grow back that wonderfully full beard in less than a year?
Santa: Well, that's all a part of the magic. And that's part of the secret I can't share with you.
D.R.: Understood. It would seem to me that closing down the toy factory would put you very much behind in production if you're gone for several months.
Santa: It never used to be a problem until the elves formed a union. They used to live at the North Pole year 'round. Now some of them take off for the summer months while I have to pay the rest extra in brownies and hot chocolate to keep them working.
Still, it works out for the best. Deadlines are always met and the whole process makes for a happier workplace.
D.R.: Good to hear. So, what do you and the missus do in Florida?
Santa: The same thing every one else does down there. Rest, soak up the sun, walk on the beach, eat seafood. It's all very normal and satisfying.
D.R.: Amazing! And all these years I pictured you freezing to death up here and never getting out for any fun.
Santa: My dear, making toys and delivering them are the greatest activity of my life. I get much more fun out of that than hiding out. But Mrs. Claus and I aren't getting any younger, and the Florida sun does wonders for our arthritis and such.
D.R.: Well, Santa, guess that's all the questions I have for now. Hopefully, I will see you again next year and get an update on what's new in your life.
Santa: Thank you, Pat. Please tell all the children in Columbia County, as well as the adults, I will be there Christmas Eve as usual. And have a very merry Christmas!
(Pat Fickle is a Martinez resident.)
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