You know how the malls are filled with Santas every year? Well, for a few years, my dad volunteered as Santaat a couple of local malls and it is a memory I shall always cherish!
He already had the bushy white eyebrows with thin gold eyeglasses, a white goatee and arrived to the job pre "stuffed." Dad was often compared to Colonel Sanders in his appearance, but I think more Burl Ives or his snowman character in the cartoon story of "Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer."
At one mall one year, Santa showed up in a firetruck on the day after Thanksgiving. Another year, he arrived in a helicopter. Dad loved all the attention he gathered as he was escorted through the mall!
Being a mall Santa is also an emotionally hard job. Dad would share about the kids that visited Santa and sometimes his heart would break.when kids asked Santa for their parents to reunite or for someone who has died to come back.
As Dad's health declined, he was less able to to endure the pace of allthose children and their sad stories and had to give up the role of Santa Claus. That also broke his heart.
I rarely put up Christmas decorations and have given away most of what I had collected over the years, but there are a few ornaments and items that have sentimental value. In the container where I keep these special keepsakes resides a plastic ornament of a Santa face adorned with a furry white beard. It reminded me of Dad when I first saw it. It still does. He has been gone nearly 15 years now, but memories of him live on.
Now you can see why this was not your typical santa that did seasonal work at the mall. No, this santa was my dad, and that makes him special! He was Santa Dad!