A Tale in a Store

applesSuch a beautiful morning to drive to my favorite store. Got out of the vehicle and held my pants with one hand while pushed the door with the free one. So what if the guy parked next to me spilled his coffee while watching? Is it forbidden to wear your jeans even though they were made for the Barbie-dolls-kind-of-princesses?

Lifted my head high with confidence and walked to the sidewalk carrying my bags. I am one of the 48% of the Californians who voted to keep the plastic bags in place. But who cared? Since my own flesh and blood voted for a clean environment.
Never mind.

Stepped in the store and remembered my Black Friday shopping approach. As some of you already read about it, that went well.
I’m looking for persimmons. And just in case they don’t have them, I’m ready to lower my standards and get a few apples.
Then this guy catches my eye. Tall, in his eighties, wearing an old model preacher-kind-of suit, no tie, but clean and melancholic, we cross our paths for a few times. He reminds me of my grandfather in his church clothes. Grandma even buried him in them.

I can’t find persimmons. Get apples and stand in the line at the only open register. The man who is checking out is the spiffy one.
An elderly woman in her late seventies is between us. We both wear the same kind of jeans.
The man and the cashier talk about the cold weather and soon after he is on his way out.
“Such a gentleman in a suit.” the lady can’t help herself and continues, “This is so rare these days.”
The cashier picks up the idea.
“Oh, yes, he looks so well put together.”
The shopper is still in awe. “I like a man who knows how to wear a good outfit. I bet he opens the door for a woman.”
She finally leaves.

When I get out, I can see her walking through the parking lot and searching the perimeter with her eyes. Maybe he is still there.
This is what a grocery store can do to a woman.


Her First Letter to Santa

Christmas Child Write Letter to Santa Claus, Kid in Santa Hat WrThis is what my granddaughter, who just learned the letters, told me she was going to write in her first letter to Santa.
“Buni, I’m going to ask Santa to bring you one thousand babies.”
I roll my eyes. How does she know that number?
“No, thank you. Ask something for yourself.”
She is unmovable in her decision. When she smiles, I can see that one of her new teeth is bigger than the others. She is adorable. I keep frowning and shaking my head.
“Don’t do it, Katelin Hope.”
She doesn’t care. She has the power.
“Then I’ll come and see you with all those babies in your arms. They will even pull your hair.”
“Noooo!” I whisper. I hold her hands and beg. “You need to help me care for all the babies.”
She takes a deep breath of satisfaction.
“Then I’ll go home.”

I Was Santa

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Years ago it was a shortage of “Santas” at the school where I was teaching. The elementary teachers were trying to find somebody to play that role for their students’ Christmas pageant. A year before they hired a Santa from a cab company but, with his jeans sticking out under Santa’s pants and with not so many skills to fit in “Santa’s shoes,” the school didn’t want to take that risk again.

I didn’t know how that happened, but I decided to be Santa. My colleagues received my idea with enthusiasm, so I went and bought a Santa suit for myself. They said I looked “good.”

The school celebrations with me as Santa turned out hilarious. None of the children nor their parents recognized me, as I performed my role with a deep voice. I remembered this little girl looking at me in awe.

“Santa, you are so beautiful.”

I barely could keep from laughing and was thankful for the long beard that covered my face up to my eyes.

A few parents waited for me at the end and hired me to drop by their house on Christmas Eve. One of them planned to be my driver for that evening. When some of my friends heard about my new hobby, they put their names on my list, too.

It was Christmas Eve and we were singing carols at my church. After a while I rushed in one of the rooms and changed into Santa’s suit. A car was waiting for me outside in the snow.

We rolled from one address to another. The children were delighted to have Santa come by with gifts. They recited poems and sang carols and I had a blast.

I kept being Santa for the next few years until we moved far away.

There are still former students among my friends on the social media who greet me with “Ho! Ho! Ho!”

Merry Christmas!