These days, the jolly fat man in the red suit and the white beard who gets around in a sleigh pulled by reindeer has morphed into a clean shaven, slim and trim, younger fellow wearing a brown uniform and driving a big brown truck with gold lettering on the side.
He showed up here on Monday with Christmas from Los Angeles, and he showed up in Lakewood yesterday with Christmas from the Ozarks. And the respective families breathed sighs of relief that nothing happened to these boxes along the way.
Such is the situation when just about all the people one buys gifts for are 1500 miles away and there is little likelihood that any of them will come East for the holiday or that we will travel West. My sister would love for me to experience the Italian Christmas Eve seafood meal (squid is usually involved) that is traditional in her husband’s family. If it were possible to hop on an airplane in Springfield and fly directly to Los Angeles or Long Beach or Orange County, we might actually think about it, but having to change flights in Denver or Dallas-Ft Worth is an adventure neither of us wants to participate in at this time of the year.
I remember a Christmas season a very long time ago when my father took his little kids to downtown Gardena to see Santa Claus in the early afternoon. We found him, sure enough, staggering down the street drunk as a skunk. My dad was very angry --and he could get rather loud when he was mad -- and I can remember him complaining to somebody about it, but now I don’t remember if it was in person or on the telephone after we got back home.
I suppose we took our boy to see Santa when he was little, but I don’t remember doing so, and I don’t have any pictures of him sitting on Santa’s lap. I do remember going down to the train tracks several Christmases in a row to see a special Christmas Train that Burlington-Northern had put together, lit up and decorated, with Santa Claus on a flat car. It was quite beautiful.