I suppose I should blog more often. Anyway, Christmas is fast approaching and it will be here before we know it.
I, like many of my fellow Santa and Mrs.Claus' are preparing for the season.
I've already started getting promotional materials together and planning on how I can get more business this year. Even though I've been Santa for almost seven seasons ( mostly for family) I still feel like I'm new at this and I have a whole lot to learn. I expect to have more opportunities this year, at least I hope so. Maybe some that will pay.
This last year I got a new suit, made my own boots and got a new yak wig set. Just recently I acquired a new human hair beard so I'm going to give it a try and see what happens, I really like the look.
I still need to get some professional pics because I would eventually like to have a website or at least a web presence of some kind. We'll see, the website will probably be next year.
Anyway, this Santa is going to be very busy between now and Christmas for sure. Wish me well.
I wish everyone well in their preparations too.
The magic of Christmas was a major thing for me when I was a small child. It was a feeling that never really went away during the year but hibernated for periods until I would get a comment from my GrandDaddy about how being good was important and that Santa Claus was always watching.
My GrandDaddy was the sheriff of our county for many years until he passed away. He used to pick one of us (between my brother, sister, and I) each week to take to work with him at the courthouse for a day. I think he took my sister more than my brother and I, but that was okay. Whenever you were with him, he made you feel like the most important person on the face of the planet. My mother commented many times after he passed away that you would always see him running around the county with someone's child, if not with his own grandchildren. He even had extra diapers in his car and back pocket...that's how much he loved children.
Now...about that most vivid memory. On Christmas Eve, my parents would aways host a dinner for both sides of their family. My mother's side would come every single time...Grams and GrandDaddy were always there, no matter the situation. My father's side would be there for either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, but not both. Ma'maw and Papaw weren't as outwardly loving. The dinner was always our favorite goodies...nothing elaborate at all. Finger foods, snacks, and sweets as the next day we'd go all out with the big meal. We'd start serving and talk while we mingled throughout the kitchen, dining room, and living room. The Christmas tree always was put in the corner of the living room where it met the hallway that led to my parent's and my bedroom. I'd sit down on the floor by the tree to consume my goodies, anticipating what surprises were in store for me after we were finished eating.
You see, our family always opened their gifts to each other on Christmas Eve. My parents did this because both of their parents did, but, amazingly enough for the same reason...to emphasize a line of demarcation as to what gifts came from family and what gifts came from Santa Claus. After opening the gifts, the adults would watch us kids act out being the models from the Price Is Right with our gifts. Once the living room was mostly clean, my father would then read Twas The Night Before Christmas and Grams would read the passage on the birth of Christ. Then, we'd say our "Good night!" and get ushered off to bed. All 3 of us were required to sleep in the same room together that night. Every other day, my brother and I shared a bedroom which was on the west wall of the living room and my sister had her bedroom on the east wall. How could they accomplish the magic of Santa Claus with having to worry about threats from both directions?
Okay...really...on to my most vivid memory.
It is the sound of bells shortly after being tucked in bed and the door shut, and from what sounded like the rooftop to all 3 of us. At first, it was most certainly Santa Claus waiting for us to be fast asleep. Later, when the doubts started happening, we all agreed it sounded like the bells on decoration my mother would always affix to the bathroom door. At that point, one of us would crack the bedroom door to peek at the bathroom door. NO! The door decoration was there and as still as it could be! It must be Santa Claus...for real! We would slam our eyes shut so he wouldn't see us awake. Somehow, we were all able to get to sleep reasonably quick after the jingling of the bells. We'd awake the next morning, throw open the door and run down the long hall, into the kitchen, through the dining room, and finally into the living room where the Christmas tree seemed to glow with magic. The stockings were full of all sorts of goodies from Santa...mixed nuts, fruit, wax lips, Life Savers, chocolate candies, along with a few small toys like MatchBox cars. There was always one or two gifts under the tree from Santa for each of us. We'd play with our gifts from Santa, pick up the trash, and then off to get ready for company and that scrumptious meal.
WOW! What an annual experience!
After discovering that it was my parents acting on Santa's behalf, the bells were silent after going to bed. I'm not sure why, but I never asked about their source. Not until 3 years ago. We surprised my mother on Christmas Eve. My sister and me (and my family) were the only ones who knew about our coming for Christmas. We drove all day on Christmas Eve to get there just perfectly at dark. Talk about being flabbergasted! She couldn't speak at first (which has never happened before...obviously a red letter day). What brought her to the door to see us was the ringing of my sleigh bells from my Santa ensemble. After we came in, she told me that chill ran up her spine when she heard them. She explained that all those years, before his passing, it was my GrandDaddy who got up on a ladder across on the south side of the house, above my parents bedroom, and rang bells each Christmas Eve. Grams and him would leave and he would take Grams home each Christmas Eve and then drive the 4 miles back to our house to jingle on queue. She thought she was about to have an Ebenezer Scrooge moment. We both got a good chuckle out of that!
Last thursday night I was off to a nursing home close by for birthday visit to my last relative of my folks generation. My Uncle Bob ,my late mother's brother turned 97. He has been in a nursing home since December and I must say it is difficult to see him there. For all of my life he lived just around the corner and after his wife's early passing he became a daily fixture in my family's home.He was always there all through the illness of my mother and watching over my Dad as he slipped away within two years of mom. Yes Uncle Bob was there,always a story and great laughs. I spent a couple of hours with him recounting many things from the past. His memory works better in the distant past, not so well in the present. It seems not so long ago on his 90th birthday I had to take him for a drivers test to renew his license. I was not looking forward to that as I felt that he probably would not pas and the reality of that would be difficult for him to bare. Well I sat in the back of his K-car and off we went. He passed all the tests including the eye test without glasses. He ended up driving me home.Well as time progressed age has caught up with him a bit and he can no longer live on his own.It is sad to see him there though I know it would be too dangerous for him to be alone now especially with stairs. Our visit went well,a lot of laughs and some great memories recalled. Sadly I know that by the next day he will not remember it. I will have to do it for him. Time moves by so very quickly and the great generation of the WWII veterans passes from us each day. We need to cherish every day with our older relatives and friends,just one visit to a nursing home is a stark reminder to us all.
Marinated Chicken Enchiladas with Black Beans
Serves: 6; Servingsize: 1 enchilada
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 tsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp chili powder
2 scallions, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp olive oil
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
6 (6-inch) whole-wheat tortillas
2/3 cup reduced-fat shredded Mexican cheese blend or Monterey Jack cheese,divided
1 1/2 cups canned enchilada sauce
1. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken with the olive oil, limejuice, chili powder, scallions, salt, and pepper.
2. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour andup to 24 hours.
3. Preheat oven to 375°F.
4. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard any excess.
5. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Addthe chicken and sauté for 7 to 8 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
6. Remove the chicken to a bowl and add the black beans.
7. Divide the chicken-and-bean filling among six tortillas. Topeach with 1 Tbsp of the cheese.
8. Roll up each tortilla and place seam-side down in a baking dishcoated with cooking spray.
9. Pour the sauce over the enchiladas and bake, covered, for about20 minutes.
10. Add the remaining cheese and bake, uncovered, for 5 minutes until cheesemelts.
I received an e-mail from a Santa friend that requested that I post some of the writings that I have done and he could not find. All these writings have appeared in threads here at ClausNET at one time or another and are here somewhere on the ClausNET server. So to honor the request here are a few…all in one place. They are in the order that they were written.
Toys for Tots (2003)
My wish for you this Holiday from deep down in my heart,
Is for all good and happy things the Yuletide imparts.
I wish you peace and hope with prosperity and happiness too.
With love and comfort for your family and those close to you.
Little boys and girls full of Christmas fantasy and dreams,
Are helped out today by Santa's friends the United States Marines.
And all the wonderful people who help them with their cause,
to give a child a toy from dear old Santa Claus.
Christmas has a meaning its message is clear to see,
The children are our future that's the way it’s suppose to be.
Each child that we see has an important part to play,
It is up to all of us to help them on their way.
I thank you for helping the "toys for tots" and the Marines today,
And all the special things you do to help children learn to play.
The Holidays are magic for all of us to enjoy,
You made a Christmas special by giving a child a toy.
What Matters… (2008)
One hundred years from now, it will not matter...
What kind of beard you had, traditional or real...
What kind of suit you wore, velvet or wool...
How much money you charged or if you charged at all...
Nor the events you appeared...
Or what group you belonged…
What matters is…
That you played Santa with honesty and integrity…
You shared with your peers to help foster fellowship…
Your conduct exhibited was worthy of Santa…
But most importantly what matters…
Knowing that you are blessed to have the opportunity
to make the world be a little brighter and better because,
as Santa, you were important in the life of a child.
Santa Hears of the News (2008)
T’was months before Christmas when all across the land,
Santas sat in anticipation of what might be written from a journalist’s hand.
The media has gotten wind from Kansas City way,
of a story that has been building for many a day.
The Santa world it seems has been out of tilt,
as accusations fly about of innocence and guilt.
The money, the plans, the behavior and such,
has driven Santa’s sleigh through so much more than muck.
“I want retribution and an apology!” some Santas say,
but is it past that point? Is there really a way?
If the law has been broken it is a legal affair,
If no law were broken lets clear the air.
Can anything be changed at this stage of the game?
Or shall we all continue with this problem with all the same?
What has happened in the past has left all Santas hurt,
From this point on stop bringing it up and stirring up the dirt.
It takes a special person to let hurtful feelings fall away,
but it might be the only way to start a new day.
The truth of this matter is already known,
by the people who lived it in their hearts and their home.
It really does not matter what the Wall Street Journal writes or who the public blames,
for the opinions of those involved, on both sides, will always remain the same.
Santa Claus Oath (2008)
I will seek knowledge to be well versed in the mysteries of bringing Christmas cheer and good will to all the people that I encounter in my journeys and travels.
I shall be dedicated to hearing the secret dreams of both children and adults.
I understand that the true and only gift I can give, as Santa, is myself.
I acknowledge that some of the requests I will hear will be difficult and sad. I know in these difficulties there lies an opportunity to bring a spirit of warmth, understanding and compassion.
I know the "real reason for the season" and know that I am blessed to be able to be a part of it.
I realize that I belong to a brotherhood and will be supportive, honest and show fellowship to my peers.
I promise to use "my" powers to create happiness, spread love and make fantasies come to life in the true and sincere tradition of the Santa Claus Legend.
I pledge myself to these principles as a descendant of St. Nicholas the gift giver of Myra.
Santa’s Sadness (2008)
Santa sat in his chair with a newspaper at his side,
reading of the story of Santas fighting far and wide.
Unrest had come to the jolly old one,
questioning himself on what should be done.
Troubled and tired he stared into space,
his fingers trembled as a tear rolled down his face.
Shaking his head and thinking out loud… “This is not good.
I thought we all were part of the same brotherhood?”
“When you put on that suit to represent me,
you have to leave out all the hostilities.”
“I know there has been confusion and distrusted claimed acts,
but its time to move on and build a new pact.”
“A pact of putting this whole issue behind,
let the healing begin. It is time.”
“A new trust in Santa and Christmas as a whole,
If you don’t like an old organization let it go.”
“Find a group that fits your needs and course,
stop beating up on that old horse.”
“There may be things that I cannot understand or answer,
but if this keeps up it will spread like a bad cancer.”
“I am not the one who can judge as I even don’t want to look,
I don't keep a list or a good or bad book.”
“You see the man that I work for is also very, very sad
And he, he alone, not me, will judge of the good and the bad.”
Through the Eyes of a Child (2008)
I remember being almost three when I sat upon Santa's knee.
He was a lot bigger than I had imagined him to be.
As I sat there I started to cry, really not knowing the reason why.
He was nice, jolly, tender and mild… I was too young to realize all the while,
I had just met Santa through the eyes of a child.
When I got older and went to school, some of the other children told me that I was being fooled.
"Santa is not real." some of my friends said, "Your parents put out the toys when you fall asleep in bed."
I asked my big brother what he thought about what I heard. "Of course Santa is real." He reassured.
On Christmas morning there was no doubt, Santa had come with presents all about.
I saw the belief in Santa through the eyes of a child.
Years later, married, with a family of my own, I experienced a part of Christmas that only a parent knows. Each of our children has a wish from Santa for Christmas Day; they want books, candy and toys for play. We tell them to be good, behave and don't fight, for Santa is watching you all day and all night.
When the big day comes and the moment arrives, my children wake me up in the morning at a quarter of five.
I saw the magic of Santa through the eyes of a child.
Now that I am older with my children all grown, each of them now has a family and a house of their own. We gather each December to celebrate our traditions with stories, stockings and cookies in the kitchen. I as sit in my rocker, getting ready to read, my youngest granddaughter crawls upon my knee.
"Twas the night before Christmas…" as the poem goes; I look at all my granddaughter with her face all a glow.
I see something in her eyes from a long, long time ago…
I see the legacy of Santa through the eyes of a child.
A Prayer for the Sick (2009)
Please comfort and bless our fellow brother in red, Santa xxxxxx. Look upon him with the eyes of thy mercy; comfort him with a sense of thy goodness; and give him patience. In thy good time, restore him to his Santa stature so he may continue providing the spirit of Christmas for all children and adults he may encounter. We ask for your blessing on Santa xxxxxx and all that pray for him.
The Borrowed Gift (2009)
Charles Howard once stated that “being Santa Claus is a privilege and an honor.” Charles was right in all aspects of his statement. When a person takes on the persona of Santa Claus or Mrs. Claus, they step into a life that is steeped with legend, folklore and tradition. The window of opportunity to be Santa Claus in one’s own life is short, with a few exceptions, and is a gift.
How is being Santa a gift? Some how, some way, a person gets a calling from some power that drives that individual to seek out the enjoyment of being Santa. This calling can come at anytime in life…I am proof of that. This calling is the gift.
The gift may come to you in your teenage years, your forties or like most in your fifties. How it starts is as unique as the individual who receives the gift of being Santa. The gift becomes the spirit that dwells and lives in your heart. It grows as you grow and gain experience.
The gift started with St. Nicholas and the legends that developed into Santa Claus folklore. The gift evolved throughout the centuries. Then in 1890, James Edgar became the first known department store Santa. All of 130 years later, tens of thousands all across the World have taken up the gift.
Santa is a gift, a gift that has passed from generation to generation. The gift has no one owner and the gift is not given without sacrifice. When our days upon this earth are done, the gift will leave us and pass into part of our individual collective being, along with our other earthly endeavors.
Being Santa Claus is a gift to be cherished…and the gift is only ours to borrow.
The True Gift of Christmas (2009)
What started two thousand years ago with a gift from above,
was given to all mankind with unconditional love.
It was given to all who would accept its mysterious beauty and joy,
when a virgin mother gave birth to a little baby boy.
The little boy’s life was like no other ever recorded on stone, paper or clay.
He taught us many a lesson on life as he went through his days.
During his Passion he fully gave of himself to all others,
as he laid down the gift of his life for the sins of his sisters and brothers.
Long ago his birth was made a day of mass and commemoration,
which is celebrated by men, women, and children of every nation.
His simple birth is a reminder of what is true, pure, and believed;
that it is genuinely truly better to give than to receive.
Centuries have come and gone; with man adding secular traditions to his birth;
there are Santas, sleigh bells, candy canes and gatherings with much mirth.
Sometimes we forget what was given from above,
Keep CHRIST in CHRISTMAS; THE TRUE GIFT OF GOD’S LOVE.
The Truth (2010)
Everyone will experience the consequences of his own acts. If his acts are right, he’ll get good consequences; if they’re not, he and others will suffer for his dishonesty. One should rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud. – Et al; Best of Success.
The Knights of St. Nicholas (2010)
More information added at Knights of St. Nicholas
Note: This is not a new Santa group. It is a basic philosophy that can be a common thread to link the pre-existing groups together. The strength of the Santa Community is in its local and regional groups/meetings. That is where the concept begins. If we can all agree on some basic building blocks and fundamentals, we can start to understand each other and start to move in a direction that is supportive and positive in our community. We believe most Santas, Mrs. Clauses, and helpers just want honesty, trust, and fellowship from their /and or a Santa group. We do need to demand certain things of each other as the mission statement says.
This is a new approach working into what is already established in our culture of internet / regional groups. By linking core values, maybe as a society of Santas, we can attain peace among ourselves.
For God, Christmas, and the true sincere Legend of Santa Claus, we associate ourselves together as the Knights of St. Nicholas for the following purposes…
To uphold the principles of the Santa Claus Oath in our thoughts, actions, and words. To maintain dignity and respect for all people no matter what race, creed, religion or faith. To not be intimidated to stand up for the basic elements of truth, sincerity, and responsibility. To foster, demand, and perpetuate one hundred percent accountability to ourselves and our brethren who belong to the greater Santa Claus Community. To pledge to keep ourselves above reproach to the best of our abilities. To think and act like Santa Claus as much as possible, not taking advantage of the role for unethical motives and dishonorable intentions.
We will preserve the memories and stories of our departed associates with respect. We shall not forget those whom have come before us and passed the traditions to us. We accept our responsibility to them by fostering new Santas, Mrs. Clauses, and Elves to join one of the pre-established local, regional or national Santa groups.
We acknowledge the true meaning of Christmas and will seek to participate in volunteerism in our villages, towns, and cities proving our dedication that it is better to give than to receive. We will promote peace on earth and goodwill towards all men, women, and children everywhere. We will sanctify the Spirit of St. Nicholas by committing to our Santa groups by our devotion to the mutual understanding that we are mere human beings, but as a brotherhood, we represent something much larger and extraordinary…the opportunity and privilege to be Santa Claus.
We pledge ourselves to remain true and not falter when challenges to our mission occur and to be faithful to our mission and to each other.
Goals of the Knights of St. Nicholas
To Interface and work within the established Santa Claus Community groups to:
Invite all established groups and their members to participate in a philosophy that links us all together by setting basic values and morals as the corner stone of our overall Santa Claus Community.
Work together in spreading the availability of resources and information throughout the established communities.
Increase cross participation within the established groups.
Demonstrate to all the individual groups and organizations our commitment to the entire Santa Claus Community.
Recognize those groups and individuals that dedicate themselves to the mission.
Participation in the Knights of St. Nicholas is completely voluntary to individuals and groups.
Core Values of the Knights of St. Nicholas
We must have the Belief in ourselves when we undertake challenges to our community. We must have Courage to face the difficulties. We must have the Desire, as nothing is impossible to a willing heart. We must strive for Excellence in doing the very best each and every time. We might stumble, but we must accept Failure as the new building blocks to achieve new opportunities. We must set reasonable Goals to accomplish our reality. We must only accept Honesty, as not being honest only hurts all of us. We must use our Imagination to see the possibilities of our dreams. We must Love one another, as even in hardship love and truth shine through. We must seek and look for Opportunity in the Santa world to better ourselves in our communities. We must have Persistence to overcome obstacles and the ability to push forward. We must take and have Responsibility as the fulfillment of integrity, honesty, truth, and fellowship in our community. We must have Accountability to our community. We must find Forgiveness for honest mistakes. We must strive for Loyalty in our community and each other. We must have Understanding when transgressions are asked to be healed.
Misconduct and Unscrupulous Deeds are not to be Tolerated
We as a unity need to hold ourselves and each other accountable for any actions that bring disgrace, dishonor, and infamy to our community. We as a community shall not tolerate any individuals or companies that discredit and degrade the good name of Santa Claus by their actions and deeds. We will not be a police force, we will not be a judge and jury, but we will ask for accountabilty as a community.
Code of Conduct and Ethics of the Knights of St. Nicholas
Display ethical behavior in the presentation of the Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus characters to the public and in our conduct as portrayers, including not interfering with or jeopardizing the performance of another Santa Claus or Mrs. Claus either through personal intervention or the unauthorized use of acquiring his contracted appearance.
Be true to the religious aspect of Christmas, be true to the traditional customs of Christmas, and be true to your conviction as Santa Claus or Mrs. Santa Claus.
Recognize and have respect for rights of the creators, authors, and owners of Santa Claus or Mrs. Santa Claus concepts, presentations, and literature, and their rights to have exclusive use of, or to grant permission for the use by others of such creations.
Dissuade false, dishonest, and misleading methods in the recruitment of Santas, Mrs. Clauses, and Helpers for personal or financial gain.
Encourage the honest and truthful fellowship of all Santas, Mrs. Clauses, and Helpers.
Hold ourselves and each other accountable for misconduct by encouraging communication, tolerance, and telling the truth.
Oppose the willful exposure to the public of any secrets of the Santa Claus Legend and any attempt to destroy the hope, belief, and magic of children of all ages.
Be responsible for our personal actions be it good or bad.
Support each other in true, clean, and honest business practices.
Encourage volunteerism in the true Spirit of Christmas.
Promote the humane treatment and care of reindeer or any livestock used in a Santa Claus or Mrs. Santa Claus appearance.
Refrain from the use of alcohol, tobacco or foul language while in character.
More Information Coming Soon...
The Pillars of Knighthood
Knighthood Foundation in the Local and Regional Santa Groups
Missions and Quests to be a Knight of St. Nicholas
Note: Suggestions are welcome as this is a work in progress.
The Knights of St. Nicholas' overview (above) is a added document to the Santa Claus Oath Foundation and is covered by numerous permissions and service registrations.
The proceeding writings are either copyrighted or are
registered with Creative Commons License Protection2008 & 2009
by Phillip L. Wenz
Republic of Kosova declared its Independance on the 17 of February in 2008. Tomorrow, the Republic will celebrate as they move forward. I wish to contratulate them with this poem I have written for my many friends, and aquaintences throughout Kosovo. Respectfully, Baba Demeri
By James E. Webber
16 Feb. 2010
They are singing in the streets tonight,
And chanting old time songs.
Shooting fireworks everywhere,
And proud that they belong,
To a Republic new and free
That they have waited for so long.
They are waving flags and marching,
To the beat of ancient drums.
Waving torches of new light
With hope of what they can become
United by a common plight.
Celebrate with gladness
Let your heart lead the way
Kosovo is very young,
But old so many say.
Move in to the future,
It is a brand new day.
Wave the flags and light the lights,
Its Independance Day today!
By James E. Webber
I’d like to give a box of chocolates to you on this day,
To tell you how I Love You in a very special way.
I’d like to take you out to dine on most splendid fare,
All of these would let you know just how much I care.
I would like to send you flowers in a special tied bouquet,
Or take you on an ocean cruse to places far away.
I’d like to give you everything your heart is longing for,
Many things to say that you’re the one that I adore.
You are the rarest of the pearls that anyone could find.
I’d like to share my life with you, My Love, My Valentine.
A Tiny Lump of Coal
I would like to fill your stocking,
But the bad news I’ve been told.
That you have been kinda naughty,
So all you get is Coal.
If I use the honor system,
And you choose to share your soul,
Your Bear can be your witness,
That you’ve been good as gold.
When eating at the table,
Don’t let your meal get cold.
Mind your table manners,
Sit straight, don’t tip the bowl.
Just listen to your Mother,
Let goodness be your goal.
Always share with others,
And do what you‘ve been told.
Just hang your biggest stocking,
Secured so it can hold.
A lot of Christmas goodies,
And a tiny lump of coal.
by James E. Webber
Deep South Pole
By James E. Webber
Sante Claus is moving south
The weather he loves best,
So many years out in the cold
He thinks he needs a rest.
Delivering the packages
He won’t mind in the rain.
Instead of using reindeer
He now will take the train.
He hates to leave the Arctic North
But deep down in his soul,
He knows it’s better for his health,
Or so he has been told.
He can wear a thinner suit,
And never wear a vest.
Instead of wearing leather boots,
Galoshes will be best.
The reindeer can just run and play
And dance upon the sand.
They will not have to worry,
If they cannot see to land.
Making rounds upon the train
Should surely make it better,
Instead of wearing lots of fur,
He can wear a sweater.
If the weather starts to change,
Should the fog get thicker,
He can keep his sweater dry
With his red rain slicker.
So hang your stocking by the gate,
And do not tell a soul,
Sante’s coming very soon,
From the Deep South Pole.
I was reading, the other day and came across some Andy Rooney Quotes, he says.
I've learned that I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help him in some other way.
I've learned that to ignore the facts does not change the facts.
I've learned that opportunities are never lost, someone will take the ones you miss.
I've learned that when you harbor bitternisss, happiness will dock elsewhere.
I've learned that simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.
Wisdom, I can relate to.
Old Sante Claus
Each year, My Brother Joe and I meet in Germany. We take ten days or so to just travel Germany and the surroundings countries. We have revisited the areas where our Father served in World War II. He was in Eight Major Campaigns which gives us a lot of countries to cover. We have visited Belgium, France, Germany, and Luxemberg. Each, a beautiful country in itself, with its own stories.
In the time I have been in Republic of Kosovo, I have had the ability to travel through out almost all of Europe, North Africa, and Turkey, located on two continants.
Our travels have transended the closeness of our youth into the feebleness of our old age. Onlookers and Passers By may think we are of Feeble Mind. Standing on the edge of a track, watching for the signal change waiting for the Cross Arms to drop, and the loud rushing wind of the ICE (Inter City Express) as it passes, snapping photos as fast as the shutter will fly. ICE which goes from Frankfurt, Germany to Paris, France travels 320 km/h once it hits the border of France. High line poles and landscape look like a blur.
Joe is more than an avid train man, he is EAT UP with trains, planes, and cranes. Age 4-5 we visited our Grandmother who lived in New Orleans on Walnut Street. Within a block or so there was a train yard, switching yard, spur. Cain would take Joe to see the trains. Branded into his young mind was the very image of steel track, trains, sights, sounds, smell, maybe even taste for the massive chunks of metal driven steam, coal, and diesel engines. Fascinated until today we travel in search of the Ol # 98.
Our favorite location for watching, photographing, and videos, is the Rheine and Mosel River of Germany. There is a tremendeous amount of train traffic on both sides of the rivers, scenic landscapes, castels, vineyards, and of course plenty of German Food. I could never describe the Sights, Sounds, Wonders, and Emotions we have experienced on these trips. They renew your Spirit and Soul!
I created a poem for my Brother Joe, about Trains, entitled The Ol'#98,
The Ol’ #98
By James E. Webber
Christmas is over
And, Oh what a shock!
Santa has to get
More trains in stock.
New Locomotives for
My brother Joe,
Coal Cars, Gondolas,
Trains from B&O.
Red Caboose, Toulouse,
Trains out in the snow.
Waiting for the moment,
To see the trains go.
Trains of every color,
Trains of every kind.
Standing on the overpass,
Hear the engines whine.
Trestles, and Vessels,
Tunnels in the rain,
Vistas with silos,
Joe’s picture by the train.
Circus cars, Cattle Cars,
Over Head Cranes.
Spent the whole day,
Waiting on the trains.
CSX, which ones next,
Trains on every spur.
Triple Track, Circle back,
Mark down where they were?
East Bound, West Bound,
Watch for every signal.
A whistle blows and there she goes,
A train goes up the middle.
Freights that haul, in every stall,
And Trains that haul the loot.
Extra Wides, Double Sides,
Cutting Yards to Boot.
Freight trains, Pullmans,
Trains we’ve ridden twice.
Gare d’ les to Ramstein,
The Ice was very nice.
Just take a ride,
And you decide,
Which train is best?
Big and Tall, the line haul,
You know all the rest.
Cutter yards and Stations.
Round houses, switch tracks,
Sides for short durations.
Eating in the Diner Car
The food is very good,
I would own this very train
If I thought I could.
I think we’ve tracked down trains
In every town, and nation.
I will be so very glad
When We get to the Station.
By James E. Webber
04 Feb 2010
The Ground Hog Saw his Shadow
Six more weeks, he said,
Spring time will be coming soon,
And flowers start to spread.
So till the soil, and rest it,
Set some new bulbs out.
Springs just round the corner,
And seeds will start to sprout.
Plant some yellow pansies,
Some tulips in a row.
And they will pop their heads up,
Just before you know!
So fill your heart with laughter,
And just don’t mind the snow.
That melts to add the water,
That makes the flowers grow.
OSC James E. Webber
As you know, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and your know the rest of the story. Six More Weeks, Bundle up, Hunker Down and be grateful that you have plenty of coal in that Stocking. As you know, Coal is a fossil fuel and way too expensive to give to Bad People. Stir up some nice Hot Chocolate, put on two pair of Sante Sox, Wool Muffler, and your Ear Muffs. Now pull that rocker up close to the fire. Now, aint that cozy? Someone Please reach me a biscuit.
In a few weeks, my daughter will turn 12. Yet despite the fact that most, if not all of the kids in her school no longer believe in the Jolly Old Elf, my daughter Meghan still believes that there is indeed a Santa Claus.
She knows that I and a few of my friends are Santa Claus Ambassadors and she knows that I run ClausNet.com.
At first, you might think that she is immature for her age, but she really isn't. In may ways she is more mature than some 15 and 16 years olds.
Growing up, my parents never told my brothers and I that there was no Santa Claus. In fact, I continued to receive gifts under the tree and in my stocking every Christmas right up until the year I moved out at 19 years old!
When I think back of growing up in my parents house I always think of Virginia O'Hanlon's letter to New York's The Sun
I didn't realize it back then, but now that I am a parent, I understand. My parents wanted to keep the spirit of Santa Claus alive in my heart -- no matter how old I was. This is a tradition that I hope to pass on to both of children and hopefully to their children.
Indeed. How dreary would the world be with no Virginias or for that matter, no Meghans...
I'd wanted to post Part II much earlier, but the busy-ness of the season crept up on me. Now here it is Christmas night with several more visits under my belt. This first visit, though, was special, because the children belonged to the daughter of my best friend since 6th grade. I'd known Nicole since she was just an infant growing up in the small apartment of my friend Danny and his wife, Sandra. Now here I was some 30 years later visiting her house and her children as Santa Claus. The girls are both special needs children and have a special innocence about them. The little boy has a sweet face, but also a bit of a mischievous streak making him a chip off the ol' block.
I sat in a chair by the Christmas tree as each child came to sit on my lap to tell me what they wanted for Christmas. I found myself still trying to find the appropriate level of voice for Santa and caught myself a couple of times dropping my voice to a low register. In theory, a good idea, but as I heard myself it didn't sound authentic.
The girls both were excited to show me their artwork. Little Toler brought me a small, ornament-sized, plastic nativity. Pointing to the little figure of the baby in the manger, I asked him, "Who is this?"
He looked intently at the baby then looked up at me and then replied, "His name's Warren." (One of a couple of Ho Ho Ho moments.)
The children all wanted to know about the reindeer. Where were they? Could they see them? They gave me a little plastic container of "reindeer food" to give to the reindeer. Later inspection revealed this to be instant oats with green and red colored sugar.
After some 45 minutes it was time to leave. The kids got gift bags as they again wanted to take me by the hand and lead me out. Nicole did a good job screening them from the door, so they wouldn't see me walk out to the truck.
This visit was the first visit to reveal the real magic of Santa Claus, which is found in the wonderful, loving energy of believing children. As someone who has gone on into the field of pastoral ministry it is a helpful reminder that these qualities also work magic in adults as well.
Last night was my first ever appearance as Santa Claus. I was visiting friends and their children; two girls, ages 5 and 7, and a boy who is about 4. I looked at this as a chance to shake out all the rookie mistakes I'd likely make in the comfort of supportive people. And there were rookie issues that popped up, even as I dressed and made ready to leave home. I had the suit on, was searching for keys, then realized I'd need an alternate way to carry my belongings, since Santa's suit (at least this one) has NO POCKETS! As I scrambled to find a suitable carrying device, all sorts of thoughts crept into my mind; what if I misplace my keys and get locked out of the car? What if I forget all my stuff when I make my exit? I found a smallish, burgundy stash bag I'd used for a camera on a hike and decided it would suffice. OK, all was about ready, but where was my assistant, who agreed to come along and hand out the little gift bags she said she'd prepare? Time was flying, I was running late waiting, but she finally showed up as I walked out the door. She had all the raw materials, but nothing yet put together. Well, she'd just have to do it in the background during the visit. So we climbed in the Santa-mobile and off we went.
I'd found some decorative bells at Big Lots that reminded me of the incense censers I've seen used in church (Lutherans don't get in to that stuff generally, though there are exceptions). I pulled up in front of a next-door house, got out, and proceeded to announce my visit with the bells and Santa's greeting, "Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas"
I walked through the door and was immediately greeted by three excited children. Little Toler, the boy, reached out for my hand as he looked up at me with excited eyes. "Santa, would you like to come see our Christmas tree? I'll show you my ornament!" The girls were in agreement, I must see their tree. So they took me by the hand and off we went to the living room. Toler took the ornament--HIS ornament--off it's branch and lifted it up. A Pirates of the Caribbean commemorative ornament. Toler is in what will later be known as his pirate phase. All of my anxieties about whether they'd believe I was Santa had gone out the window. I WAS Santa Claus. Mom invited me to take a seat in a chair next to the tree and off we went.
I'll post Part II of this experience later, including stuff I learned and stuff I need to work on. I'd sure welcome your comments.
I pray that you and your family experience, Christ, the greatest Gift of the Christmas Season. Bind your hearts with love, peace and hope, and always, keep Christ unto you. And always remember, “For unto you is born, this day in the City of David, A Savior, which is Christ the Lord, and yea shall find the babe’ wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.”
During the Christmas Season, I am grateful for the opportunity to honor Service Men and Women who are called to duty all over the world, and especially here in Kosovo. We are taught that it is better to give, than it is to receive. This is true in the case of our soldiers, their families, and their friends. The sacrifice you make is your gift to each of us, defending our nation, our freedom, and the freedom of those around the world.
Ms.Puddin'Pie and I would like to wish each of you a Very Merry Christmas, a wonderful Holiday Season, and the Best of the New Year. God bless each of you for your contribution and sacrifice for Freedom and World Peace.
Old Sante Claus
My Brothers in Red,
Recently, I was requested to make an Office Call to the Generals Office here in Kosovo. During that Office Call, the General thanked me for my efforts to the U S Soldiers stationed here in Kosovo, as well as the Foreign Military Contingents and the children of Kosovo. He presented me with his coin, the Generals Coin, Award of Excellence. I am truly honored and humbled by his gracious award. He requested that I, along with Ms. Claus, Rene close the Vidio Tele Conference to soldier families in the United States. What an honor for Us. My Gratitude Message to the families was for the sacrifice they make to the Gift of Freedom, and their efforts toward World Peace. We are taught that it is better to give, than to receive. This is true in the case of our soldiers, their families, and their friends. The Sacrifice they make is their gift to each of us, defending our nation, our freedom, and the freedom of those around the world. God Bless each of them for your contribution and sacrifice for Freedom.
My honor is your honor, Let me Thank each of you for the Great Things you do in your Santa Mission. I know there are many. May God richly bless each of you for your Faith, Hope, and Charity. May this be your most Blessed Christmas Season and New Year.
James E. Webber
Old Sante Claus
A little early Christmas magic happened a few days ago when Santa got his whiskers. I am somewhat of a Santa whisker stylist of sorts, all self taught, taking ordinary sets and working them into something better. Always on the look out for that perfect set of whiskers. Well a while back I read of a Santa looking for a certain set of whiskers that are out of production. I know he had seen them in the advertisement on the Rubies site where he got his suit. It was a very nice beard made to look like the Yak sets of a bygone era.Well there is not a lot you can do the good stuff seems to be all out of production. Well I am scanning through the EBAY site and see a box I recognize to be the package from Rubies Santa set 2306,having no idea what was really inside I make a couple of bids.Unfortunately I receive a notice I was outbid so that was it ,so I thought, The ad also incorrectly gave the wrong product number I figured Oh it was not the 2306 set after all. So a week or two later having forgot about this I get a message from the seller that the buyer did not go through with the bid. He asks do I want the set? I ask him to check the tags sure enough they are a 2306. I make the purchase and wait to see what is actually in the box. Several days later the box is wedged in my mailbox. It took some doing to remove it. Well I open it up and behold a brand new Rubies 2306 set in original package with the tags. Well I contact this Santa who I don't know, except by reading some of his posts to see if he wants it. He is surprised to say the least,I tell him it cost half the retail that was advertised and it was his for the asking. I took it out styled it up a bit and sent it off to him. He seems quite pleased with my internet bargain.With a bit of Christmas magic Santa got what he asked for this Christmas his whiskers.
This month I launched ClausNetMedia.
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