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Yes, Katy, There is a Santa Claus
December 22, 2005

A good Christmas, I thought.  A quiet Christmas, but a good one.   Neither son was coming home the Christmas of 1990.  It would seem strange, they had both missed the holiday, but never at the same time.

            Still, we’d have the carols on the Square, and know that on Christmas morning our daughter Katy, who was then a newswriter for the Post-Searchlight would head to our house from hers in time for Christmas gifts and brunch.

            The Saturday morning before Christmas, I headed out early to do my grocery shopping.  I didn’t even stop to read the paper, before I glugged down the last cup of coffee, grabbed my shopping list and hot-footed it to the store.

            I was humming “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” to myself when I got the first inkling that things were not right.  

            Just as I reached for a bag of fresh cranberries, a woman I’d never seen before grabbed the side of my cart and dropped a bag of candy canes into it.

            “Poor little thing,” she huffed.  “The least you can do is let her have some candy.”  She wheeled off toward the meat department. 
            She’s mistaken me for someone else, I thought, and shook my head.

            When I reached the checkout stand, with my overloaded cart, I realized, things were decidedly wrong.  A friend pulled in line behind me.

            “Well, I never.  I never thought I actually knew Mrs. Scrooge.”

            “Do you?” I asked.

            “I’m looking at her.”  I looked around.  She was looking at me. 

            “Really,” she went on, “I guess you have no heart at all—that poor little thing. Looks like you’d want to make a fuss over her—her being the only one home and all.”

            What had I done?  I didn’t know, so I asked her.

            Then the checker chimed in.

            “She doesn’t know.  What do you think of that?  Not only won’t she have Christmas; she doesn’t even read what her daughter writes in the newspaper.”

            Oh, Katy, Katy, Katy.  What have you done now?

No, What have I done now?   I didn’t say anything else.  I wrote my check and didn’t wish anyone a Merry Christmas.

            I couldn’t wait to get home to get to my Post-Searchlight and find out.  I dug around in my pocketbook for change and bought a paper from the dispenser as soon as I had loaded the goodies in the car.  (Only those goodies weren’t looking so good.)

            I found Katy wearing a Santa hat smiling out at me from Page 10A.  Didn’t look too bad.  She wrote about the treats she’d left out for Santa over the years—the cookies, the eggnog.  But about halfway through, I began to understand. What was she leaving Santa this year?

            St. Nick gets nothing.  That’s right, the old boy gets zero.”

            Not his fault, she went on.  It was her mean parents.  They’d (read Mom, here) suggested that Santa might not come to visit.   

            “I deserve a stocking.  I’ve always gotten one, and the boys got one until they were much older than I.  

            “I want Santa to visit me this year.  It’s not fair.”

            I dropped the paper, grabbed the pocketbook, and headed back for the store.  I bought everything Santa.  Santa candy, Santa stocking, Santa candle, Santa lapel pin (with a flashing nose), Santa doll, even a pair of antlers. She wanted Santa.  She’d get Santa.           

            Christmas Eve she consented to sleep over, but it was a cool evening, and not just the weather.  She went to bed early, and without a comment about the column.  (I hadn’t heard about much else anywhere I went.  Mrs. Scrooge was the mildest thing I was called.)

            Christmas morning was another story.  About dawn I put the tape player outside her door, and turned it up all the way.  “Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus,” echoed down the hall.  I stood by the Christmas tree ringing jingle bells.

            And that fine old gentleman?  She might not have left him a snack, but he’d left two Santa cookies and a cup of eggnog with the note, “for Katy, sometimes, life is fair!”

            Is Santa coming to our house this year?

            You bet your boots and Christmas stockings!


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