Wednesday, October 29, 2008

'The Bad Santa'

It's December! It's the month that parents take their little ones to visit Santa. That used to be an occasion that held tons of excitement for my grandchildren. I would make them Christmas sweatshirts and we would plan for a week where we were going to go to grace Santa with our happy, holiday presence. It was always one of the highlights of our Season. Alas, little ones become teenage ones and the Santa visits became memories stored in my holiday frames. But there is a memory of a Santa visit that sits among the pictures and momentos with such grandeur that it has become a virtual family legend.

The children and I had gone on a search for the most thrilling Santa to visit. We found a mall that had a magical feeling. It was an open three floor mall and everything was built to afford a dramatic view of a reflection pool on the ground floor. The Christmas decorations were almost breathtaking. The area looked like a Christmas fantasy land. Santa sat high on an elevated platform that stretched over part of the pool. It was child themed, but elegant. The thought of walking over that platform and among all the beautiful decorations was exciting to both of the children. The children chose it as their perfect Santa Land.

So on the special night my son, my man friend, the two children, and myself dressed in our special Christmas attire and went out to dinner. That was always part of the occasion ... a special night out that was culminated with a visit to tell Santa Clause what they wanted him to put under the Christmas Tree.

When we arrived at the mall Santa was on a rest break. He had left his elves behind to manage the line that was forming. It wasn't a real long line, but it was a line nonetheless. Many of the children in the line were getting anxious and restless. Many of the parents looked as if they were weary from Christmas stress and shopping. But all in all it was a happy group that was waiting for Santa to return.

I pushed my wheelchair out of the way of passersby. That took me back from the display, but I could see everything that I wanted to see. My man friend, found a seat on a bench next to my wheelchair. The two of us sat together and waited for Santa to take his high throne.

Soon we saw Santa walk across the mall, clomp up the stairs and plop his bottom on his beautiful throne. I remarked to my friend that Santa looked a little pissy, and my friend laughed and said that he might be too if he had to put that many children on his lap in one night.

The first few children sat on Santa's lap and for the most part cringed. They acted relieved when the visit was over. There didn't seem to be much Christmas spirit emanating from Santa or his elves, and I thought I saw one of the elves with tears in her eyes after Santa had said something to her. Then a woman approached Santa with her son in her arms.

She was so pregnant that she looked as if the paramedics should be standing in the wings waiting for her. She reached out to Santa to steady herself and he flinched and shoved her hand away. For some reason that move by Santa frightened her son and he began to cry. He didn't cry loud. He just sobbed a bit. But Santa found his tears objectionable and started yelling at the woman to get her son away from him. She quietly talked to her son and calmed him a bit, but Santa had made up his mind. He wanted nothing to do with a child that had cried. He started railing at the woman to take her "kid" and leave. Then it was the pregnant mother's turn to cry. She wanted her son to have his visit with Santa Clause, and besides, she had stood in that line and she was tired! She and her son deserved their turn. By this time Santa was fuming. "I said no, and I meant no. Take your kid and leave!"

All of a sudden I saw my son walk onto the platform. He walked over to the woman and put his hand on her shoulder and quietly said something to her. The woman nodded and stepped back. Then my son grabbed the Santa by his red suit and pulled him to his feet. He turned to the elves and yelled, "I want to see this man's manager. Get him here now! or I'm gonna 'kick Santa's ass' and I'd rather not do that in front of all these children."

Totally unexpected a roar rose from the watching crowd. People everywhere where applauding. The elves came over and patted my son on the back, the parents of the children that were waiting yelled "thank you", and the pregnant woman finally found a smile. My son didn't hit or hurt Santa, but he did give him a terrific scare. I've never seen a red suit shake as hard as the one he was wearing.

The manager arrived and promised that he would personally stand behind the Santa throne to ensure that the incident didn'toccur again, the woman got her photographs free, and all the remaining children were treated to a Santa that had a welcome, albeit, shaky smile when they approached him.

My son's children? They had a great time. Their father was hailed as a hero, and they were treated better then they had ever been treated by a Santa Clause, although Santa never did look directly at them. He kept his eyes glued on my son!

Remember the song "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause"?

Yesterday when my grandson asked his best friend, "Have I ever told you about the time my dad took me to see Santa?" the whole household started laughing and singing .....

"I Saw Daddy Kicking Santas Ass"

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