Santa, Let’s Talk
December Men's Room column
Letter to Santa Claus if Tim were 6 years old. (He’s far from it in age, but, people tell him, not in maturity.)
How are you? How is Mrs. Claus?
How was your summer? Mine was fun. I thought I saw you at the beach. There was this man, and he was heavy like you, so his belly bounced, and he had long, white hair and a long, white beard like you, and I told my mom and dad, “Santa comes here on vacation, too!” He was with a young woman who was very jumpy and giggly and drinking beer, and she didn’t look like Mrs. Claus, and she ran and hopped up on the Santa man and tried to kiss him and he hurt his back. He said bad words, and then he sat on his motorcycle and pouted. He was not jolly. That was how I knew he was not you.
Where do you go on vacation? You should come to my beach. We can build a Santa Land sandcastle.
I want to talk to you about last year. It was not a good year, and I don’t blame just you.
I know I said all I wanted for Christmas was a vaccine for the whole wide world, but I didn’t mean that was all I wanted, like just that one thing. What I meant was all I wanted was a vaccine for the whole wide world and toys.
I wrote a letter saying that, but I didn’t do it until bedtime on the night before Christmas, and my mom and dad said it was too late to make changes. My mom and dad don’t get to make the rules, is what I say. But it’s not what they say. “Once you start paying the power bill, Mr. Big Pants, you can start making the rules.” That’s what my dad says.
How are the reindeer? How is Rudolph’s nose? Does it glow all night? Does it keep you awake?
Santa, it was very, very good that you brought the vaccine last year. It made me happy when Maw-Maw and Pa-Paw got their shots, even if Pa-Paw was grumpy about his sore arm and Maw-Maw had to make him a banana pudding so he would stop bellyaching.
And you probably know this, but I want to stay on your good list by telling the truth.
Uncle Earl won’t get his shot. Maw-Maw has tried and tried to get him to do it, but all he says is, “I survived disco. I can handle anything.” My mom told Uncle Earl that he can’t come back to our house until he gets his shot, and my dad says, “Either way, we win.”
I will leave cookies for you under the tree. My dad says they might be stuck on a ship far away in the ocean, but my mom says, “Harry, do you have to take the fun out of everything?” And my dad says, “The boy has to learn about global supply-chain problems sometime.” And what I want to say to him is, “Well, Mr. Big Pants, cookies don’t come on ships. They come from the grocery store.”
Tell the elves hello for me. And tell them thank you for the vaccine. And tell them this year, toys, too.
Your friend (no matter what),
Tim Bass is coordinator of UNCW’s bachelor of the arts program in creative writing.
To view more of illustrator Mark Weber’s work, go to markweberart.blogspot.com.
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