First we had a problem.
Then we had an idea.
The problem was with Santa, or more precisely with his signature. The girls are of a suspecting age and Santa is discussed as a possibility and as a, maybe not. We all think that kids should be kids as long as they can be because adulthood is a long, long road. So, we had some gifts from Santa that needed to be wrapped and needed tags signed, “From Santa.”
Joe, for the life of him, can not fake a signature. He really can’t. He has lovely handwriting and can’t bring himself to change the nice neat round legible letters of his signature to anything else. My writing is not the best. I have to transcribe notes within an hour or two or I can’t read them myself. I can’t even print neatly. We figured that typing would be a dead giveaway.
So what to do?
Then we realized that that afternoon we were going to Handel’s Messiah and that the crowd’s average age is death minus three maybe we could find a Santa there who would sign the cards. It struck us that we had a need and an opportunity. We could give the gift of being Santa to someone there who might just love to have that story to take home.
It will not surprise you to know that I think that stories are important.
We looked around as people were getting seated. I sat in my wheelchair at one end of a shortened row and an elderly woman sat in a wheelchair at the other end. Her husband had not been able to get seats for them together so he sat right in front of her. He stayed with her until the last possible moment and then took his seat. She sat stooped over in her chair and he saw right away that she might have difficulty seeing over him so he leaned over as far as his body would let him to give her a better view.
A Santa kind of guy.
At intermission I had the tags in my hand and I waited until he was just in front of me. I caught his attention and I started to mention the need for Santa’s signature and I didn’t have to go further. “I understand completely and I’d be delighted.” He stood there and signed from Santa and told us a little bit about his life, he was a man who clearly loved his wife. He finished and went over to his wife and we could hear him telling her about signing the cards and she laughed with delight. They were complicit in keeping Santa alive.
He didn’t take his seat when intermission was over, he sat back further, just over a bit, so that his wife would have an unrestricted view of the performance.
We’d chosen well.
On their way out, as the went behind us, I heard them both wish us a Merry Christmas and then a soft ‘Ho Ho Ho’ came from a woman whose face was wrapped with a smile.
Sometimes in having a need, one can give a gift.