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  • Doppelganger

    My Frien's, it all started rather innocuously ~ a few summers back. Diana and I were leaving Bass Pro in Springfield, MO. As we walked to our car we noticed a lady in front of us having a problem with her son ~ about 4 years old, ~ tugging hard on her hand, ~ while looking back at the store. Losing patience she asked, "What is wrong with you?"

    He pointed at me and said, "Look, Momma, Santa Claus." Yep, this was the first time I was mistaken for my doppelganger. Since I was wearing a bright, colorful shirt (of course), cargo shorts and sandals ~ it took a few minutes for the whole situation to sink in. Not so for Momma's! One Mom saw opportunity knocking and did not let good fortune slip away. "Well you sure better hope he did not see the way you were acting in the store or you will go on the naughty list." The other Momma laughed in admiration of the "teaching" experience. Diana's laughter was my clue that something extra was happening and my admiration for Mother's kicked up a huge notch.

    This was just a curious episode ~ until it started escalating. The next Xmas I learned to stay well away from the toy departments. A few years later it kicked up another notch. I had become very irritated with a rude store associate. Not being exactly shy ~ I started to explain her behavior in detail and its reflection on her employer. Then I noticed the children. Bunches of them. Standing around and looking at me. Why me? Oh **** ~ my Doppelganger! You have no idea how hard it is for an angry Cajun to not get loud and ~ yes ~ allow "colorful" language to flow. But, I had a reputation to uphold. NO! NO! Not mine! HIS!

    Looking like Santa can be fun ~ it can also be scary. Last summer I had stopped at a convenience store to indulge my sweet tooth. I thought I was alone in the candy aisle, ~ there it was, ~ on the bottom shelf, ~ a salted peanut bar, ~ king size too! I squatted, reached and ~ a soft, small, hand grabbed mine ~ tightly! I was eyeball to eyeball with a very young, female asking, "Santa what are you doing here?" I had heard something like this before. Wow, she sure did look like Cindy Lou Who! Now, my Frien's, we live in troublesome times. This is not an age when old men should be alone with young girls. I felt a hell of a lot more like the Grinch than Santa!

    I stood up. She would not let go. Just the two of us. Thoughts of being arrested as a pedophile went through my mind. I think I may have even been turning green and I know my heart would have been several sizes too small if the pacemaker had no kicked in. Uh Oh! A lady turned into this aisle. Thank heaven my newly acquired young friend was old enough to speak. Hanging on and dragging me along she exclaimed, "Look Momma!, I found Santa Claus."

    Momma's are extraordinary. They instinctively cut to the chase. "Santa, it sure is a surprise to find you here!" My heart grew three sizes!

    The next few moments of anxiety, relief and conversation is all a blur to me. I do remember having to explain my presence. I was doing a trial run for Xmas. The summer was hot. The reindeer had become overheated. They were hidden on the roof of the store. I needed to cool them down. If she was really good I would leave her something special this year. I did get my candy bar ~ but have to admit that the "reindeer cooling" ice cream was an unintended treat.

    One other behavior modification ~ I usually buy my liquor at Sam's where it averages $10 per bottle cheaper. Sam's is in Springfield ~ 80 miles one way, but worth the trip. Our Honda Fit costs only about $16 for the round trip. I load up the buggy ~ 2 bottles of Bombay Sapphire, ~ 2 bottles of Jim Beam, ~2 bottles of wine, 1 bottle of brandy (egg nog), 1 bottle of rum ~ huge bag of salted, roasted peanuts ~ big bag of pretzels ~ not Santa friendly. Look around Paul! Kids everywhere at Xmas. Abandon the buggy. Gee, Xmas at the liquor store ~ where kids are not allowed ~ is expensive!

    This year things have been kicked up another notch. The ubiquitous cell phone ~ with camera. Last week I was sitting in the Clinic waiting for Diana to finish her appointment. I am never far from my carving bag and something to work on. I put on my "Kangaroo Apron" to catch the chips, took out the walking cane I am hurrying to finish, and started to work. A young man ~ well, young to me ~ probably in his mid thirties ~ approached me from across the room. "May I take a picture?" he asked. Nothing unusual. People often take a photo of my carvings in progress. Now and then they even want me in the photo.

    I held out the walking cane. "No," he said, "I want a selfie with you. I want to show my kids who I ran into at the Clinic today. And, it's just fantastic with you sitting wearing the apron, wearing those reading glasses, working on a carving. They will not believe this unless I have evidence!" Well, that's unusual I thought. Then came more selfies ~ with kids, ~ with non-kids.

    Now, I have "kicked it up another notch". Might as well go with the flow. As a tip of the hat ~ uuhh ~ stocking cap to my French heritage ~ I now wear a red, long tail, stocking cap as Xmas approaches. The other day, I ran into another "Santa Look-alike" in Walmart. He asked, "Do you have any candy left? I already gave all mine away."

    I may be slow, but now and then catch on quick. "Nope, don't have any!" ~ but, I do now. I intended to buy some peppermint, then remembered that hard candy is not a good idea for young children. So, I bought a big bag of mini, chocolate covered, mint patties. Good thing Xmas is only once a year and kids don't expect Santa to bring stuff to them the rest of the year! This gig is beginning to cost!
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Are there photos attached? I can't see them. Yet, when I went to edit, there they are. I am about ready to give up on photos!!

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    • #3
      You're not fooling us Paul. We know you are Santa.

      Nice carvings. Your pics are coming across loud and clear. They look very normal on my computer.
      Terry

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      • #4
        Merry Christmas Paul. Your story is great and your pictures are also.
        Larry

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        • #5
          Thank you, Paul, for a great story. Made my day!
          Arthur

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          • #6
            Thanks Paul for the storry, love hearing stuff directly from Santa, also like your carving alot, have a great Christmas, if you want to drop off something for me I will be in Gander Nl for Christmas this year
            Bruce



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            • #7
              Awesome story from a man with an obviously big heart. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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              • #8
                Better looking like Santa than the Grinch. Okay, some would argue that I suppose! It was a nice Christmas story, and I enjoyed reading it with my morning coffee, thank you!

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                • #9
                  Oh Paul....well told and well carved. Consider yourself a blessed man. If we could get more people to follow your thought process and just give a little of themselves to others at this time of year, it truly would be a time of peace on earth with good will towards all mankind. My hats off to you.

                  Tinwood

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                  • #10
                    Nice story about your encounters. Being a good sport about it. You are the chosen one.
                    Carve On,
                    Kadiddle

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                    • #11
                      I always enjoy your mistiffs Paul, and your plight is a familiar one to me. I have a friend who also resembles the Big Guy, but he takes it way up a notch and spends the months before Christmas in character, visiting children at homes, hospitals, etc. He has a character much like yourself, a large heart and a generous nature. Merry Christmas my friend, your story made my day.
                      Before they slip me over the standing part of the fore sheet, let them pipe: "Up Spirits" one more time.

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