Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Afraid and shy....

Tonight I'm sitting on a big pile of perfection, Baby. No...not a comfy chair or fluffy sheep. Just sitting on a perfect night.

Outside my window the first snow of the season has covered the land of Milo and RV's, my son is in bed dreaming of a school cancellation and Michael Buble is on PBS making my heart go pitter-patter. I swear on all that is good and decent, if he showed up at my door right now and sang "You Don't Know Me", I'd bake him a ham.

That's what the kids today are calling it, right?

Lord have mercy kids. He is all good and nothing nice. Even if he is twelve...and a half.

It's been a busy couple weeks. One of the companies for whom I work decided it would be a good idea to have Santa come visit and allow all the little milo children to sit upon his lap for free pictures. We did two sessions and photographed roughly 300 kids. Santa made it through the ordeal with a dry lap and only a couple sharp kicks to his shins.

As jaded as I thought kids today are, I was in for a shock. I could see them as they walked in the front door and I would say a good 90% of them had the same look on their little faces as I would have had I walked through the door and seen Elvis sitting there. It was a combination of joy, fear and complete awe. I honestly thought some of them might fall unconscious.

The very first little boy we photographed was about nine or ten years old and he was probably the most memorable as well. "I'm here for my little brother," he said. "He wanted to tell you what he wants for Christmas, but he can't come so he sent me."

The sound of hearts melting all across the building was darn near audible.

"That's awfully nice of you," said Santa. "But what about you? What do you want for Christmas?"

"Good grades. Just good grades."

I don't think I could have 'aaahed' louder if he'd said world peace.

Then there was the screamer. Of course, we had lots of screamers. Lots and lots of shrieking, screaming, freaking out kids. But this kid was the screamingnest of all the screamers. I would imagine he'll someday make his living doing sound bytes for slasher movies.

Did you know that screaming kids are not unlike dominoes? When this child started to wail, every child in a three block radius started to scream in a most unholy way. By the time we could shoot them with darts dipped in St. Joseph Children's Chewable Valium, it sounded like Santa had gone on a rampage and was killing kids as fast as he possibly could while others looked on.

Can you say Excedrin?

Thank goodness most of the kids were exactly the opposite of the screamer. Typically when they realized they were in the presence of the great and powerful Santa Claus, they were struck speechless.

"Timmy, all you've talked about all day is telling Santa what you want for Christmas and now you can't say a word!" Mom's prodded and coached in an attempt to try to get their children to say something to the man in red...anything at all.

Santa would ask what they wanted and they'd shrug their shoulders and look at their shoes. Before they left I'd try to whisper that it was OK they didn't say anything because the big guy already knew what they wanted. It was my personal little effort to cut down on therapy later in their lives.

And finally there was the kid that I'm pretty sure was a plant sent there just to make us happy. He had only one request and when it was his turn to sit on the man's lap, he practically sprinted to get there.

"What do you want for Christmas?" came the standard question.

"I want a BB gun, Santa!" he said with a gleem in his eye.

In unison every adult in the place shouted, "You'll shoot your eye out, kid!"

Copyright © 2004-2005, Sherri Bailey
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