“Dad, I know it’s you!” cried the Littlest Princess. Of the eighteen things I’d done wrong that day, I couldn’t think which one she was pinning on me.
“You’ve been writing the Santa letters to us!” Ah, that one.
Many years ago, I’d overheard some smart alecky kid tell my daughters that Santa wasn’t real, so I called my Finnish mate who had Santa’s postal address. As a boy he’d visited Santa’s village in Lapland, and afterwards ate at a restaurant that sold Reindeer Burgers; Santa had clearly found a use for his slower reindeer.
So I wrote to Santa and asked if he could send a note to each of the children I’d included on my list, and a week later Kringle delivered. When the smart alecky kid arrived waving her letter like it was a winning lottery ticket, I smugly thought, ‘Stick that in your stocking and smoke it!’
Then for some reason, the kids expected Santa to write to them every year. So he did. Each Christmas Eve a letter would magically appear in our letterbox surrounded by melting ice cubes. Listening to the girl’s giggle as they read Santa’s latest adventure helped take my mind off my aching writing hand.
I don’t know why I kept it up for so long, but each year I’d think, ‘Right, this is definitely the last one!’ Now it was.
The Littlest Princesses continued, “You’re probably thinking of quitting, but you have a granddaughter now so you have to keep going, it’s our tradition. Besides,” she added, “it’s the only thing of yours I read all year.”
“What about my columns?” I asked.
“They’re boring,” she replied and wandered off.
I sighed, then uncovered Santa’s latest handwritten adventure. Apparently we’re back in business; for a few more years at least!