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The Life and Times of Santa Claus WV

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"And Santa, Don't Forget the Pepsi!"

John Johnson

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Each Christmas Season that goes by has its share of interesting events. Some are sad, some are happy, and some are down right funny. Also, as the years go by it seems that everything starts earlier and earlier. I always guage the time of year by my birthday, November 5. Usually I begin the week after. However, this year I began the day before. So, my birthday found me sitting in the Picture Me Studio of my local Wal-Mart. For the sake of the following story alone I was happy to be spending my birthday in this way.

It started out as an ordinary shift of Santa pictures and the children were really excited to be seeing Santa. I had taken the contract through the Kringle Group to be at two of our local Wal-Marts in November for early pictures with Santa, also doing a shift at the local Sears store since the studios are owned by the same company. I arrived with bells on, literally.

The first few sessions went by rather routinely. The requests were for the usual things such as Barbie and 3DS Nintendos (I always like to get reactions from the kids so I always joke with those asking for video games that Santa is a real toymaker and ask if they would like a wooden soldier instead.) Of course, Santa must always be prepared for the unexpected.

Then he showed up, a young man of about six years of age with a blue turtle neck, a brown vest, and a smile as big as Christmas.

"Why hello there," I said.

"Hello!" he replied, coming to sit on my knee.

"What can I get you this Christmas?" I asked between shots.

"I want a plate of cheeseburgers," he said in a very serious tone.

"Are there any toys you might like?" I asked, trying not to giggle.

"Nah," he replied as we took our last photo.

As we finished our interview I reminded him to be a good boy and to be sure to listen in school and to his parents. He nodded his head yes and turned to leave with his mother. As he rounded the corner of the studio he turned and came back in a quick pace to me.

"And Santa," he said, "don't forget the Pepsi!" Then he waved and was gone.

That was it for me and the photo crew. We enjoyed a great chuckle from that request. I believe that out of all the birthday cards and well wishes I received, that young man brought me the best one yet!

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Children can throw you a curve when you least expect it and leave you with a smile the rest of the day.

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