The Gifts

I alluded to gift giving for Karen with the children acting as the elves,  guides and hint givers a couple of posts ago. So here’s the story.

Now, I always tried to weave my profession into my personal life. I even planned a scavenger hunt for Karen’s engagement ring but when threatened if this was going to be “one of those nights, you can take me right home,” I thought better. But once that ring was securely planted on her finger, it was my time. I had the poor girl roaming throughout the house before settling on storylines after the kids were born.

Every year, Karen would complain about the drawn out stories, but I do know she looked forward to the. One year, I did not have a story and later she told me how much she really missed the exercise. I discovered a few of the them among her things. They included letters, cards, a little booklet complete with festive rope and bows. Topics included the 12 Days of Christmas, Santa’s reindeer, a year in the life and conversations with Santa himself, as well as his reindeer and, well, as shown here, his elves.

As a prelude, as I went through the found treasures(?), I couldn’t remember most of the gifts even with the hints — except for an annual present she always described as a present for myself. From year one, I always gave her a nightgown, peignoir set, teddy, lingerie, silk pajamas, even a flannel nightgown. {do you know how sexy flannel is?}

This particular letter was from 1992. Just before Christmas, I had an assignment covering the installation of Bishop Elliott Thomas as Ordinary for the Diocese of St. Thomas (VI), which happened to be jurisdictionally under the Archdiocese of Washington. So I had to leave comfortable Washington for St. Thomas. That’s the backdrop and here is the story as presented to Karen, Christmas 1992.

Merry Merry Christmas!!!

Well, here we are at another Christmas … and here we are with another adventure.

If you remember, this time of year is generally filled with sometimes bizarre events and visits. This year was no exception …

Our story goes back to late November. There was a call on voice mail that made absolutely no sense. Someone called and left a message. They said, “We have to do some checking. Please Call S. Claus as soon as possible.”

Well, naturally, I thought it was a prank call, so I dutifully ignored it. About a week went by and another message appeared on voice mail.
“This is serious. Please Call S. Claus, immediately, so we can verify some important Christmas facts. If you refuse to call us back, I’ll have to report you, Mr. Siccardi, are being uncooperative and you know which column the check will go into. Please Call S. Claus — that’s C-A-L-L-S-C-L-A-U-S, (225) 572-5287. We must hear from you immediately.”

Now my Christmas was in jeopardy. After all, I don’t want the big guy to get mad at me. So, I checked this out. (225), yup, that’s the area code for the North Pole.

So I called the number — believe it or not, it’s a toll-free number for the account verification department — and talked to some young-sounding guy named Elfis Something-or-Other. Honest, that was his name!

Bottom line was, they were checking on you. It seems the computer got fouled up somehow – dummies using DOS, is what he said — and they weren’t sure whether you were naughty or nice. The computer said you were nice, but the printout must have had a bad file in it because it kept repeating “N-A-U-G-H-T-Y.” Being good elves, they wanted to check this out … but they wanted to check it out in person. So they told me I would be contacted in St. Thomas, where the field representative would ask me some questions and file his report.

So, you see, I had to go to St. Thomas. Well, I had to go anyway, but now there was a secret Santa mission as well.

After I landed and picked up my bags, I was waiting for a cab when I heard this voice. “Welcome, mon.” I looked around, but didn’t see anyone. “I’m down here, mon, down here.” Sure enough, when I looked down there was this three-foot guy who didn’t look like an Islander to me. When he turned and hit my kneecap with his bell-laden tassel, I knew right away, this was my secret contact.

Sure enough, it was Agent 0070826980826981224943020723604485615082698. He told me to call him Ralphie.

Ralphie and I shared a cab to town — the cheapskate made me pay — and he quizzed me over and over and over. Was Karen a good little girl? Was she naughty at all? Was she always nice? Did she pick up her toys?

Yes. No. Always. Yes, and she made me pick up mine, too.

Should Santa come and visit her this year? Should he leave her nice presents? Should he leave her a lump of coal? Does she believe in Santa?

Yes. Yes. No. I think so.

How come the printout shows these checks on the naughty side? How do you explain those?

I don’t know. Computer error?

I dropped Ralphie off at the Fisherman’s Reef Hotel. “That’ll do for now,” he said, “but I’m watching you. I’ll be in touch before I leave.”

Well, I thought that was the end of Ralphie, but no. Just as I was getting ready to head for the beach, there’s a knock at the door.
“I’ve got some more questions,” blurted Ralphie as he walked in. “Won’t take long.”

Ha. He grilled me for hoooouuurrrs … missed the beach completely. I missed dinner, too, and had to settle for a stale Pop-Tart and some Twinkies. But I thought I settled this computer problem. I thought I convinced Ralphie you were a good little girl. I thought he was going to give Santa a favorable report. I thought Santa would come to visit. I thought my contact with Agent 0070826980826981224943020723604485615082698 was finished.

I was sort of right. I never saw Agent 0070826980826981224943020723604485615082698 again, but I did get a call from another — elf, I guess. His name was Alf. He said he was reviewing the file and the report from Ralphie and just wanted to make sure I hadn’t answered any questions under duress. I assured him I didn’t and I wouldn’t and affirmed, indeed, Karen was a good little girl this year and deserved the top of Santa’s line. Alf told me he appreciated the conversation and I would receive an official letter from Santa telling me of the disposition of the case on Karen.

Well, surprise, surprise, what came in the mail at the office Thursday? A special delivery letter from the North Pole from Santa Claus, of course!

According to the rules of the letter — I would have to start forfeiting some of my gifts if I didn’t follow them — I couldn’t share the contents since it was a list of the gifts you would be getting. But I could give you some hints. Soooooo, here goes — would the little elves help out, please.

1. Top of the line … Hmmmmm. Please open Package No. 1.
2. A maxim for the Washington area … Please open Package No. 2.
3. Iggy was an idiot … Please open Package No. 3.
4. Music to your ears … Please open Package No. 4.
5. A gift from the Energizer Bunny … Please open Package No. 5.
6. It’s yours … not borrowed … Please open Package No. 6.
7. This one is special … especially for you … Please open Package No. 7.

Well, that’s it. I hope the computer glitches were all patched up in the North Pole!

Love You!

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: One of the greatest stress relievers God has given us is laughter.

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About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
This entry was posted in family, Memories, relationships, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Gifts

  1. Pingback: Saturday with Santa | Father Says…

  2. Pingback: Saturday with Santa | SDN

  3. Pingback: I Guess It’s Santa Season | Father Says…

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