Houstonian: Santa, I see a lot of changes from my great grandfather’s expeditions. For instance, last time I checked your compound was surrounded by ice and snow and I remember even seeing a polar bear from the barn area.
Santa Clause: Well of course since your last visit in the early 20th century we have been subjected to the effects of global warming, but thanks to the Canadian and U.S. military and even a little reluctant help from my Russian neighbors, we are in good shape. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built us this system of floats that you see attached to the house, the two barns, the warehouse, all of the workshops and the elves dormitories. The Canadian Navy, with some US Navy and Russian help, installed those specially built floats and built the walkways and docks necessary for our continued operation.
H: It appears to be a smooth operation. What differences do you find?
SC: As you know, when I started out some 683 years ago in what is now known by the geographers as Turkey, I came to some fame because of my rescue and help to a handful of children. In those days, I only used my birth name of Kristopher Kringle, but over the ages, I have collected many colloquial monikers from the peoples of different areas of the world. The most recent was your country and area where I became known as Santa Claus. If you remember during your grandfather’s visit, I believe some time in the 1930s, you had those two fellows from the Coca Cola Soft Drink Company in the visiting party and they had designed a proposed new modernized set of clothes which is the outfit I am wearing now. I also have many more children to serve, actually in the multi millions now, so we have developed look-alike elves to cover the world so than we can get to everyone in a timely manner.
H: Tell me Santa, has being surrounded by all this water had any other effect on your operation?
SC: Well we find ourselves eating more fish because of its easy availability. Also, that lady scientist over there in Denmark tells me that the sea ice helped remove carbons from the atmosphere so the situation is not only caused by global warming but it actually makes global warming worse. But we have lived with over six and a half centuries of change, so I guess we’ll make do.
H: Well Santa, something that has always puzzled me although I have seen it with my own eyes when I was here last some eighty-plus year ago, it’s about reindeer flying!
S: (After a hearty Ho, Ho, Ho) that is a question I get a lot from outsiders. As you know, there are countless numbers of these magnificent beasts wandering in herds just south of here, for instance in Lapland. They are fast, but not as fast as most horses, and often wander more than 25 miles a day. They stand about waist high to me at the withers. Did you know that their hair is hollow, so that there is air both between the hair on their thick coats and inside the hair to protect them from the cold? Also, stay up here long enough and you will notice that their eyes change color from summer to winter to aid in seeing in the drastically changing light. The herds usually have a single leader, and as many herd living animals, they are a great source of food for the local people of Lapland, the Scandinavian countries, Finland and more and although they are still wild animals, they are getting somewhat used to human influences. What happened here was that some four or five centuries ago, some reindeer, by accident of birth, did not grow to full size but did reach maturity! A team of our elves worked with the re-breeding of those tiny reindeer and, today, besides the original eight, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder and Blitzen, we have whole teams of tiny flying reindeer, including a very few with glowing bright red noses.
H: We have all heard of your love of cookies and milk, but is there another holiday treat that you are fond of?
SC: Well, it is a little-known fact that ole Kriss Kringle is a chocaholic. Anything chocolate, especially dark chocolate, and when I arrive at a home that has sugar cookies and chocolate milk waiting, it usually throws me off schedule because I linger to take in a little more of that chocolate milk than I normally imbibe of the white milk.
H: Santa, how about this thing of you coming down the chimney, as small as most chimneys are?
SC: Sonny, it is obvious that you are not re-reading the book to some children each year like you are supposed to. You know that I have been endowed over the centuries with certain special powers and that by touching my finger to the side of my nose I can change size to gain entry through any space with or without a chimney to use. It’s no big secret or big deal. As you know from the book,
“T’was the night before . . . when not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”
Well, we learned from our barn mice. Haven’t you ever seen a mouse with a body that is 3 to 6 inches around run under the quarter to eighth of an inch of space under a door? Nothing to it when you know how.
H: And what about this stocking things?
SC: What I have learned through the centuries is that the beautiful term children does not necessarily belong only to those of few years but of all ages. In fact I find that as I travel about and meet people, that besides those of limited years, it is the so called elderly that most accept who I am and believe in me. With that I do recognize a kind of glow in those that profess to believe in my existence. So therefore, that stocking, plain or decorated, full or with little content, personally placed or gifted is a sign of that belief that crosses all social and religious lines and barriers. Some consider me a religious figure because of my presence on the Christmas Holiday but I cross religious lines and my function is to bring joy and hope to children of all ages, races, religions or any other separating factors and to bring all of good heart together.
H: Well Santa, as a newspaper we are limited by space-available considerations, so as much as I hate to end this conversation, I must ask if you have any final thoughts for our readers?
SC: Well sonny, I have to tell you that my thoughts are seldom described as final, as they go on from generation to generation. I want to send my love to all of your fellow students down there at S am Houston State University and to your educators and the college staff, tell them I sent my wish to all of you Bearkats for a happy holiday and a great and healthy New Year and I do want to send out to your readers my favorite wish for this time of year and that is that,
“I hope that I am good to everyone one of you and you can help me to perform that wish by you being extra good and extra nice to at least one extra person this year.”
And with that, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.