Santa busy on local roundsSanta sat down with the News-Chronicle this week after a very busy Christmas to reflect on his past visits to Lake County.
By: Santa Claus, Lake County News Chronicle
Santa sat down with the News-Chronicle this week after a very busy Christmas to reflect on his past visits to Lake County.
I remember the Fridays after Thanksgiving, when me and Mrs. Claus would ride around town on the old LaFrance fire truck prior to going to the Ben Franklin store, where the line of children would be from the front door way back to the room in the basement, where it was really warm. It felt good after the cool ride on the fire truck.
I recall one occasion, when a family from the Twin Cities area stopped to see me and when I asked them if they were up visiting Grandma and Grandpa for Thanksgiving, they said “yes.” They asked me if I knew where Grandma and Grandpa lived and then I gave them directions right to their house out in the country. The children were amazed and so was their father.
My most memorable visit was to a little 8-year-old cancer patient. I received a call from the boy’s grandfather requesting a visit from Santa.
So one night I stumbled up Grandpa’s driveway in the dark. When I arrived at the house, the motion light came on and there was the boy and his little sister looking out the window.
Suddenly he screamed “Santa is here” and in I went with a bag of toys for the two children. We sang and danced and then handed out the presents.
When I was about to leave, the boy asked me to come over and he gave me the biggest hug you can imagine and said “I love you.” “I love you too,” I said.
Well, Santa cried all the way back to his sleigh. It was a wonderful experience, one that I will never forget. The next summer, the boy passed away. But we have those wonderful memories of the visit.
The first year the mall opened on Seventh Avenue, Mrs. Claus and I stopped there after a ride in the first truck. With all the kids looking, I tripped getting off the truck and my candy canes flew all over the driveway. I bruised my ribs, but went in to see all the kids.
One little boy jumped on my lap, and, after he told me what he wanted for Christmas, looked up into my eyes and said, “Santa, I saw you fall. You sure are clumsy.”
For many years I have visited the area hospitals, nursing homes, banks, restaurants, and all the other businesses in the Two Harbors area — handing out candy canes to everyone. This year, I had candy canes and also suckers — the kids really like them.
Last year, during the Sunrise on Superior party, where all of the residents come and sit on Santa’s lap, one 90- year-old lady looked up into my eyes and said, “Santa, I have waited 90 years to sit on your lap, and I finally did.”
Two years ago, when I was visiting a home on Christmas Eve, a young boy noticed a hole in one of my gloves. So the next year he gave me a new pair. This year, at his home, he noticed I was not wearing the gloves. I explained I could not use gloves because they could trap and spread germs in this H1N1 flu season. They young lad then handed me his 2009 present — three bottles of hand sanitizer: one for the workshop, one for the sleigh, and one for my home.
The 2009 Christmas season has been the most wonderful year for me and Mrs. Claus. We were involved in many activities, including the Two Harbors Salvation Army’s delivery of gifts to the Miller Dwan Burn Center and the St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital pediatric ward.
At the burn center, I delivered presents to the 4-year-old girl from Two Harbors who was recently burned in an accident. Upon my arrival, I found out she was just out of surgery and could not talk with Santa. I gave her presents to her mother.
As I was leaving, her mother said: “Honey, say goodbye to Santa.” She lifted her little arm and waved to me. I told her, “Santa loves you and he will be back.”
I proceeded down the hall to another room, where a little 6-month-old girl who had been burned was in her crib. Her twin brother was also there visiting, so I held them both in my arms as Mom took pictures of us. It was another moving experience for your “jolly” Santa.
As I was leaving the burn center, I came upon the St. Mary’s Day Care Center childrenas they were outside playing. They shouted “Santa,” so I stopped, took out my camera and suckers, and went over to visit with them.
I then went up to the St. Mary’s pediatric ward to deliver a present. The staff and the kids were so excited when out of Santa’s bag came a Wii game.
The following day, I went back to the burn center to see the little girl. Now she was alert and talked with Santa as her mother took pictures.
Mrs. Claus and I were also asked to deliver food and presents to area families in need. When we would leave these homes we both realized how lucky we were.
Each year, when I ask children what they want for Christmas, they say games, toys, trucks, or dolls. Some would have long lists of what they wanted. This year, some asked for the regular list of things but I noticed that most asked for just one thing. They asked for the necessities, such as clothes, boots, hats, mittens and gloves. Several times I heard about a parent losing job and “could Santa to find work for them?”
Mrs. Claus and I would like to thank all the wonderful people in the Two Harbors area for stopping to talk with us and especially to all the children who make my job so enjoyable.
We hope you had a very merry Christmas and have a happy new year.
We will be back in 2010.