Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Who's that guy?

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, my brother and his family came up for the day. We had our big Thanksgiving meal that afternoon.

I had been looking for something fun for us to do that evening. A friend had suggested a farm park that's about an hour from here. They have a train that runs around the park (about a 3-mile loop), a little village of stores, a church and some other attractions.

Another good thing was that when I looked it up on the map, I realized it was on the way home for my brother and my parents.

We got there about 6 p.m., and the place was covered in lights. It helped that it's in the middle of nowhere, so there's no light pollution from anywhere.

We figured we'd start with the train, so we all walked over and got in line just as the attendant put the rope back in place across the gate.

"You'll be the first ones on the next train," he said.

It was then that we all realized that we weren't dressed quite warmly enough to be standing outside waiting on a train. There was a big fire barrel within eyesight, but it was just far enough out of reach that we couldn't get there without getting out of line.

Do you know how torturous it is to be very cold, be able to see the fire, but not be able to reach the fire?! So we all huddled up together on the bench, hoping for some body heat to happen.

The train circles the park and stops about halfway through for a quick film of the Christmas story. And I have to say, the film was kinda weird. The man playing Gabriel appeared to have a lisp. And the narrator read so fast, it was hard to understand him. Plus, the script was very historical with not a lot of feeling.

That aside, it was a nice evening. We stopped to roast marshmallows by the fire. There was a petting zoo with goats, chickens and rabbits. There were several old-fashioned stores set up with crafts, toys, clothes and other things to buy. There was a radio museum (pretty interesting), a doll museum (VERY creepy) and a farm equipment museum.

There was also a pretty little church with old-fashioned wooden pews (good thing the service was short because they were not padded!).

A woman read a sweet story about a carpenter who unwittingly built the manger that Baby Jesus was placed into. Then she, her husband (who played guitar) and her father sang some songs, including one of my favorites "Beautiful Star of Bethlehem."

It was getting late, and my parents were ready to get warm. And they still had an hour and a half to drive to get home. Just before we said our goodbyes, Biscuit said, "Mom, I heard some people talking about seeing Santa. Can we go see him?"

I looked at Jeff, and he nodded. "Yes," I said. "We can go see Santa as soon as we give hugs and say goodbye."

We got in line, and I heard a woman say, "Yeah, we've been in line for an hour, and we've made it this far."


The line was outside of course (Did I mention how cold it was?!). We had been in line for about 20 minutes, and I looked up and saw a sign. It said, "We've changed our photo-taking procedures to make wait times shorter. Three poses for $5."

Seeing as we had moved about 10 feet in 20 minutes, I was horrified to think what their previous photo-taking procedures had been.

"Mom, when we get close to the door, I'm going to pull off my hood, and I'd like you to fix my hair, okay?" Biscuit said.

"Why do I need to fix your hair?" I asked.

"For the pictures," he said.

"But we had pictures with Santa taken yesterday," I said. "We weren't planning to get more pictures tonight." 

"Well, if we aren't going to get pictures, why are we standing in line?" he asked.

"I thought you'd just like to see him and tell him what you want for Christmas," I said.

"I already told him what I wanted," Biscuit said. "I just know that everybody seems to like seeing pictures of me, so I thought we'd take some more to send out."

I looked at Jeff, and he nodded his head.

"Okay, we'll get pictures," I said to Biscuit.

I have to say that Biscuit was being very patient. Some other kids were struggling a bit, and some of the other parents were behaving worse than the kids.

There was a pretty decorated tree on the porch, and this woman was lining up her kids to have a picture taken. Her smallest daughter started to cry.

"Why are you crying?" the woman asked her, without any sympathy.

The little girl stammered and stuttered and finally told her mom that she was afraid to sit with Santa by herself. And do you know what her mom said?

"Well, you quit that crying and stand in front of that tree and smile, or I will MAKE you sit with Santa by yourself," she said.

Can you believe that?

Then the guy behind us yelled at his son about something. I wanted to tell Santa to put them all on the naughty list!

Shortly after that, Biscuit said something about seeing Santa two times this year, and there was something about what he said that struck me as odd.

And then it hit me!

I looked at Jeff with wide eyes. "What?" he asked.

I grabbed Jeff's shoulder and jerked him down to my level.

"He thinks the Santa in there is the same one he saw yesterday!" I whispered.

"What?!" Jeff asked.

"He's never see another Santa in real life," I explained. "He's always seen that same Santa. He thinks the Santa he saw yesterday is THE Santa."

You can imagine my dread at having to have the conversation at all, much less while we were in line, standing outside in the cold, waiting to see some guy who was dressed like Santa.

"Um, so you know that the Santa you saw yesterday is not the REAL Santa, right?" I asked Biscuit.

Biscuit was looking at the ground while I was talking to him. And when I finished, he looked up at me like I had just sprouted a second head.

"What do you mean?" Biscuit asked.

And I launched into how Santa has helpers because he's so busy getting ready for Christmas. Then I said, "Do you have any questions?"

There was a pause, then Biscuit said, "Not yet."

Not yet? That was scary. That meant he was going to think about it for a while, THEN ask me questions. Probably hard questions.

I felt so bad for Biscuit. We finally made our way in to see Santa, and Biscuit crawled up on his lap. But he wouldn't look at him. He kept giving side glances but not looking him straight in the face.

They took three poses of pictures, and we were out of there in about 3 minutes. We waited for almost an hour in the cold for three pictures and a 30-second chat with Santa. The things we do for our kids!

The next morning at breakfast, Biscuit said, "So I know that Santa can speak ALL the languages. But can his helpers?"

"Well, they don't need to," I explained. "Since most of the kids here speak English, with a few who speak Spanish, the helpers here don't need to know a bunch of languages. So like if a Santa helper was in Japan, he would speak Japanese."

"And a Santa in France would speak French?" Biscuit asked.

"Exactly," I said. "Do you have any other questions?"

"Um, not right now," Biscuit said.

I've probably answered six or eight questions since that Saturday. Nothing so far that I couldn't answer right away. Let's hope it stays that way.

Here are the pictures:

This was the only time Biscuit looked him straight in the
face, and that was because the photographer told him to.

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