Opinion

The day Eileen met Santa Claus

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Have I told you how Eileen met Santa Claus?

December 9, 2016 (Was it that long ago?) Eileen and I were in Augusta, Maine shopping, browsing, and visiting her parents’ gravesite at Central Maine Veterans Cemetery. The day was overcast, sunshine breaking through the clouds now and then, but not enough to mitigate the chilly mid-20s temperature, 12 mph wind combination.

We took a needed respite in the warmth of a favorite steakhouse. Nothing fancy; just a place with consistent meals at good prices. I change up my order from time-to-time. Eileen always orders the same steak dinner. “I’m so boring,” she laughs.

As the waitress escorted us to a booth, a man with curly, shoulder length, snow white hair, eating at the bar, caught my eye. I have a habit in public places, of character-studying people.

After Eileen and I ordered our food, I realized I could see the white haired man from his right side. Somewhat overweight, he wore a red and green plaid shirt, eyeglasses, and had a full white beard.

His pants were red and — I’ll be darned — he had on calf-high black boots with white long-hair cuffs.

“When you get a chance,” I whispered across the table to Eileen, “look over your left shoulder behind you. Santa Claus is sitting at the bar having dinner and coffee.”

She turned, looked, turned back with twinkling eyes and one of her Cheshire cat grins. Saying nothing at first, Eileen finished her steak, and said, “I’m going to say hi to Santa.”

Sliding out of our booth, and over to the white-haired, red-suited gent at the bar, Eileen said, “Excuse me.” The gent, holding his knife and fork at rest, turned to face Eileen.

I couldn’t hear their conversation, but Eileen shared it with me when she returned to our booth.

She spoke to the man in an even tone. “I hate to interrupt your dinner. I just wanted you to know I know you’re the real Santa Claus. And I want you to know I’ve been really good this year, no matter what anybody else tells you,” Eileen said.

Santa smiled and was gracious. He told Eileen she was correct. He was the real Santa Claus. Eileen didn’t ask for proof, but Santa Claus opened his wallet and pulled forth his honest-to-goodness official Maine Driver’s License with his photo and name: Kringle, Kris.

Santa finished his meal. Before he left, driving his red car with a “KRINGLE” license plate, Santa walked over to Eileen. Placing an origami star-with-heart Santa made with a dollar bill and a shiny quarter, Santa said, “I want you to know that I believe in you.”

Merry Christmas to all.

Scott K. Fish has served as a communications staffer for Maine Senate and House Republican caucuses, and was communications director for Senate President Kevin Raye. He founded and edited AsMaineGoes.com and served as director of communications/public relations for Maine’s Department of Corrections until 2015. He is now using his communications skills to serve clients in the private sector.

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