I’m holding a letter from Newt (7 years old, Olney, Illinois). “Dear Sean of the South,” Newt writes. “Can you to tell me if Santa is real?”
The letter is signed, “Newt of the North.”
Here’s what I know, Newt:
I am ashamed to admit, several years ago I almost quit believing in Santa. That year, he and I had a misunderstanding involving a Yeti cooler and a scratch-off ticket.
He mistakenly brought me a pair of khaki Dockers instead.
But that has all changed, Newt.
Last Christmas Eve, I stayed up late watching “A Christmas Story”—a movie which was a classic before it got remade it into a live-for-TV-musical hosted by Ferris Bueller.
Then, I heard something.
It was a loud crash on my roof. I went outside. I live in the woods, so it gets dark here. But I could see him. The Man in Red. On MY roof.
Before I go any further, Newt, it’s important to realize something about my house. It’s on wheels. Your parents might call this a “mobile home,” or a “single-wide.”
Those are outdated, non-politically-correct terms, and in some circles, offensive. We prefer to call them “tornado magnets.”
Anyway, Santa had—get ready for this, Newt—mistakenly thought my bathroom air-vent was a chimney. He had tried to jump through it. Bad idea. His lower half was dangling in the skylight above our john.
Kris Kringle, you’ll note, is a big boy. And my home is a ‘93 model—not built to withstand hurricane-force windbearing loads.
So, I did what any sensible man would do, I called my buddy Lamar.
Lamar is a part-time eBay seller who lives up the road in the ‘87 Fleetwood Mobile Manor. He’s good people. He came over immediately. He brought his deer spotlight and a stocked cooler.
We tried to pull Santa free, Newt. But nothing worked.
“That boy ain’t goin’ nowhere,” observed razor-sharp Lamar.
So, we waited.
Santa borrowed Lamar’s phone and called Mrs. Claus for help. And since we didn’t have any milk and cookies, Lamar offered Santa a cold one and some potato chips.
Santa declined. He was on duty.
So, we talked for hours. We talked about what this world was like long ago, before technology. It was a golden age, Newt, long before you could flush toilets from outer space with smartphones. Board games ruled. So did G.I. Joe dolls.
We asked Santa lots of questions, too.
I asked why he never brought me a Yeti cooler. Lamar asked him why, out of all the colors in the universe, did Santa wear crimson and white.
And Santa reminded us of something, Newt. He told us there were more important questions to worry about in this life.
Such as: why are some people mean to each other? Why aren’t there more dog rescues? Why do some people feel sad at Christmas? And, how can we make them feel better?
Anyway, don’t worry, Newt. The North-Pole rescue team saved the day. They broke him free without causing much damage to my “tin can Taj Mahal.”
In the process, however, they ripped the seat of Santa’s britches. But Santa was in luck. Lamar had a pair of camouflage waders in his truck. They were snug, but they fit.
Then, we watched Santa climb into his gold-leafed sleigh. He gave us a wink, laid a finger aside his nose, and into a purple sky he arose.
And Newt—if I’m lying, may God himself strike a tree in my backyard dead—Santa gave us gifts.
We were left in the glow of his childhood magic and kindness. It was quite a night. One I’ll never forget. Long live Santa. And may he continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Lamar got a duck call.
I got a pair of Dockers.
Thanks for the letter. Merry Christmas, Newt.