The Christmas Memories, Part 2

The best Santa, EVER.

My oldest was around 2 years old and absolutely terrified of Santa. We’d had two annual Christmas pictures so far, both with me in Santa’s lap too and her mouth open quite wide, obviously in a cavernous scream. Like those Harry Potter pictures that move about. Ear-splitting. Poor fellas, no wonder the Mall Santas make so much. Just think what they have to put up with.

It was a weekday and I’d taken the day off, and along with my mom had trekked up to Lenox Square. The great Lenox, before they remodeled it yet again and now it looks like every other mall in the world.

She had on a red dress with a white collar and a rocking horse applique. Red tights. Black Mj’s. Little red bow in her still wispy hair. Adorable.

Back then, the Santa set-up was up around the Rich’s mall entrance. His “village” was Russian themed and he was just beautiful. The hair, the beard, especially his outfit. His chair was really a sleigh. Someone had paid a tremendous amount of detail. I was standing there admiring him and he motioned me over. The little one immediately started screaming, clutching my leg.

There was no line. For 45 minutes, he talked to her, softly and gently, and she inched her way closer. Three feet away, two feet away, one foot away. Then next to the sleigh. Then touching the sleigh. Then stepping into the sleigh. By this time, the tears were streaming down my face. Then sitting down on the sleigh bench, but not to close. Then a little closer. Then a little closer. She pats him on the leg. Then for the first time, he looked up at me, never breaking character, and using that soft, deep voice of his, he said – “Mom, you can take the picture now.” Then he turns to her and still talking, gives her the little bell necklace he gave to everyone else. She jumps down all happy and smiles. He winks his twinkly eye at me. She waves good-bye.

I turn around to leave and all the elves are crying to. I asked one if she was ok, and she said “Yes, He’s always that way.” No line ever formed to rush us. He was in no hurry. It was magical.

Every year we went back. He remembered us and when little brother came along, he would be instructed by her what to say and how to act. He was HER Santa and therefore, completely in charge. It was the highlight of our Christmas season.

Then one year, he wasn’t there. It was a different Santa. So I went up to the concierge desk to inquire as to where I might find him. The sweet Southern lady said, “Oh Honey, he died back in August. He had cancer.” As I burst into tears, she patted my hand and said “Alot of people have had that reaction.”

He was The Best Santa, EVER.

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