Well, all my life I've heard about Santa Claus, but somehow never expected to actually get to meet him face to face. Last winter, however, I had an extraordinary opportunity to do just that.
Unfortunately, he slept the whole time I was there.
Mrs. Santa Claus is one of those people who happened onto my website when she was Googling for information about the Southwest, and that's how we became acquainted. She loves her computer and her contacts with people all over the world.
"You know, sometimes I just need to talk to someone besides Santa and all those elves," she confided in one of our chats.
As a result of our email friendship, Mrs. Santa extended an invitation for me to come up for a visit. It just so happened that I was able to stop by for a few minutes on my way to tea with Mother Goose. (Many people are unaware that Fairyland and the North Pole are not that far apart, even though their climates vary greatly.)
Well, Santa was sleeping so soundly that I didn't want her to wake him, so she left one small lamp burning and we tiptoed away.
Mrs. Santa led me to her cozy kitchen where we sat companionably at her table and drank hot chocolate and ate homemade doughnuts. We talked about all kinds of things, especially how much we both enjoy the wonders of the internet. I asked her if Santa was computer savvy, and she laughed as she sipped her cocoa.
"Ha! You know how some people are about change," she confided. "He always said he didn't have any need for a computer. Then, every once in a while he would want to play Solitaire, and then next thing I knew he would be spending all this time looking up old movie stars that we had seen on Turner Classic Movies. It got to be quite irritating, frankly, and finally I just told him one day that he needed a computer of his own, especially considering all the recordkeeping he has to do with the children, you know."
"And how did he take that?" I asked.
Mrs. Santa sipped her cocoa and frowned slightly. "He kept insisting, No, we don't need a second computer; I'll just use yours when I need it, he said. And then I thought, I think not! And so I surfed the internet for the best deal and his Christmas gift this year was a new computer. Surprised the heck out of him."
She said firmly, "I told him, Now forget about Solitaire for a while and get those clever elves to help you learn how to set up your data bases and bring yourself into the 21st century. And since kids all over the world are computer savvy they will know how much more quickly you can keep track of whether they're being good or not, and I have a feeling their behavior will greatly improve."
"My dear, he told me, pointing to that gigantic old record book, But we've always done it this way! Yes, I said, and it takes you all year to get your records straight, too. And look how much space all those big old books take up! If you put your mind to it, with the computer you can have it done in no time and then you can take your Someday Trip. You know how you always say, Someday we should ....
"I told him, Well, this year we can do it! So, I handed him his second present, a how-to manual called Simplified Record Keeping to help him get started with computer data bases, and he has promised to read it carefully."
We peeked in, but he was still asleep, although I saw he had at least started reading the book she gave him.
I suppose he was dreaming of his Someday Trip down old Route 66 - as soon as he finishes transferring all his records to his new computer.
I whispered goodbye and thanked Mrs. Santa for a lovely visit.
As I tiptoed out to catch a ride to my appointment with Mother Goose, I turned to wave and noticed that she was gently removing a kitten so she could cover his bare feet with the afghan that had slipped to the floor.
So, even though we didn't have a chance to talk, it was still quite exciting to at least peek in at the famous Santa Claus. And his wife is just a dear. You would really like her.
Maybe she will visit your website one of these days, too.
NOTE: You can read about the making of Santa and his clothing here.
After Christmas a couple of years ago I found some wire and wood sleds greatly reduced and liked the painted snowmen scenes so much that I purchased several, thinking I might take them apart to make furniture. I visualized the runners for a sleigh bed, and the wooden parts perhaps as the back of a shelf unit or something.
When I started working with my napping Santa I needed a backdrop, but wanted to keep the setting simple and didn't want to have to wallpaper a roombox. I recalled the sleds, rummaged through my stash and found that the wooden parts of two sleds, hinged with masking tape painted to blend, worked for a screen. The blue and cream background complements Santa's dark blue chair and tones down some of that red and green.
Oh, and the little white kitten who crawled into this setting since 2009 is made by my friend and professional miniaturist Alice Zinn.
And it all fits nicely in a glass dome, one of my favorite ways to tell a little story.