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Waiting for Santa Claus is a good thing
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The last time I checked, a day is still 24 hours and it still takes the Earth about 365 days to go around the sun.

In less than three weeks, Santa will have made his visit and some poor garbage collector will haul off the boxes and wrapping paper, not to mention those sealed plastic clamshell wrappers that no scissors can easily cut.

For grown-ups, it all comes in the blink of an eye. I wonder if it happens slow as ever for kids.

I can think back on the days leading up to Christmas and they seemed to take forever. Mama started dropping the Santa hints about Labor Day. Any thoughts of Santa in September seemed so far away.

Mama was always talking to Santa. She never really gave a good explanation how that happened. I knew it wasn’t by phone. We treated long-distance charges like a disease and stayed away from those.

If you are younger than 30 years old, you may not understand the last sentence. Long ago and far away in a galaxy where phones were heavy objects connected by wire to a wall, we had something called long distance. It was charged in 3-minute increments and it was long distance to almost everywhere outside your county.

In Social Circle, where I grew up, it was a long-distance call to anywhere besides Jersey. That’s not Jersey as in turnpike. I’m talking about Jersey where Bill Kuhn used to have a store.

Mama wouldn’t have casually called Santa. The good Lord only knows how much a long-distance call to the North Pole would cost.

I had a theory Santa hung out at Rich’s Department Store in downtown Atlanta. At Christmastime, the top floor of Rich’s became Santa’s place and the store had an express elevator to the North Pole. It even had stalls containing what were advertised as reindeer. They were actually whitetail deer that looked more like Bambi than Rudolph.

If Mama wasn’t talking regularly to Santa, you already knew he was watching you. He sees you when you’re sleeping and he knows when you’re awake. Or so the song says. He had lists of good boys and girls as well as the not so good. The thought of being on Santa’s bad list was too much to take. I didn’t want to go there.

It seemed the closer we got to Dec. 24, the slower the clock moved. It just seemed to take forever. No amount of busy activities would make it go faster.

Santa never failed me. I got trains, racecars and almost everything I asked for.

I even asked him once to help make my daddy well at Christmas. That was better left to the one whose birth we celebrate on Christmas.

I still love Christmas, although it sometimes serves as a stark reminder of those I miss so incredibly at this time of year. When I think of the joy it brought to them, I have to smile.

I hope waiting for Santa takes just as long in kid terms today as it did 50 years ago. A little waiting is good for you.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com/harris.

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