Jim in Alabama shared a story that reminded us of how the Christmas season brings everyone together. During his time in the military back in 1973, Jim was stationed near Nuremberg, Germany. He wrote:
“Being born and reared in the South, I had never met people from Puerto Rico. But we had four guys from Puerto Rico and Queens, New York. Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” would play on Armed Forces Radio and these guys made us all start to dance and sing along. They sure knew how to have a good time. They helped us all not be so homesick.”
Thank you for that great memory, Jim. I can’t think of anything more American than guys from Alabama, New York and Puerto Rico all joining the US Army and celebrating Christmas in Germany listening to Jose Feliciano sing “Feliz Navidad!”
Next, what might be a close encounter with the real Santa Claus. Margaret from Washington wrote that her 60-year-old sister Liz lived in an adult home. She had cerebral palsy and autism, the mental capacity of a six-year-old, constant pain from two broken hips and her spine, and limited speech due to her medication. She didn’t have much joy in her life, but she loved Christmas and still had an unwavering belief in Santa Claus.
Liz had a great caregiver named Crissie who told Margaret that Liz and her deaf housemate Alice saved up $20 from their meager support checks, the price of a photo with Santa at the mall. So Crissie agreed to take them.
After waiting an hour in line, they finally got to the front to discover the photo price was $23. The “elves” wouldn’t budge on the price. Crissie called the home but was told she wasn’t allowed to spend her own money on residents. So Crissie reluctantly signed the news to Alice and began pushing Liz’s wheelchair away. Margaret said her sister began throwing a fit as only she could, and Crissie started pushing as fast as possible, with Alice trotting behind and Liz’s screams echoing through the mall.
As they reached their car, they heard someone shout, “Liz, wait!” They turned around, and there was Santa, out of breath. He’d been running after them. Liz stopped screaming immediately. Santa gave them all candy canes and said he’d love to pose for a photo with them, no charge. Santa hugged Liz and Alice, and said, “HO! HO! HO! Merry Christmas!” as Crissie took a cell phone photo.
Now, here’s where the story takes a magical turn. The photo turned out great. You could even tell that Santa’s long white beard was real. Margaret was so touched by his kindness that she went to the mall with a thank-you card and the photo, so they could identify the mall Santa who performed that special act of kindness.
She showed the photo to the mall manager’s secretary, who took it back into the office. Margaret wrote:
“The manager came out and told me she thought it was a great photo…but that was NOT their Santa.”
They had no idea who that kind, jolly man in the beard and red suit who magically appeared out of nowhere in their hour of need could have been. I’ll leave it to you to decide.