The town Santa asked my wife if I'd fill in for him one year. She said yes and, being a seamstress, she set to work making my Santa suit. That was 21 or 22 years ago and the original Santa never came back. So here I am again.

Of course after all these years there are bound to be some incidents that stand out. No. 1 on my list is my Shame on You Loren Christmas Eve. It had recently snowed and I thought I had pulled my little green pickup into a cul de sac. It wasn't a cul de sac. It was actually a circle with a blacktop street around the rim of it with grass in the middle. There I am stuck in the snow in the middle. I haul out my shovel and there's Santa shoveling out a little pickup truck and shamefully I'm not saying things a real Santa would say. I take a breather and look up. Oh my! In the moonlight are two little boys standing in their driveway staring at me with their mouths open. It brought back visions of Home Alone.

Next up is absolutely true. The Santa suit is bulky with pillows and stuffing. I was waiting for a family to come home on what was an unusually warm Christmas Eve. I got out and leaned against the truck, sort of like when a person gets arrested with both hands on the hood. It helped as I felt cooler. Well, there was a reason I felt cooler -- my suspenders had come off and my pants were hanging down around the tops of my boots. Thank goodness for darkness and the fact nobody happened along. That's all I'd need, a rap sheet for indecent exposure while playing Santa.

There are, of course, highlights. One of them occurred during a Christmas in the Country in Ellendale. I recognized the little girl but couldn't remember her name. But I knew her grandparents and told her how much I enjoyed her Grandma and Grandpa Otto's singing. She smiled and turned away hand in hand with her dad. Then she stopped dead in her tracks and slowly turned back and stared at me. Of course I knew what she was thinking. That Santa knows who my Grandma and Grandpa are, he must be real. She slowly walked back to me and gave me a big hug and then continued on. A pleasing moment for Santa for sure.

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