30th 2016
That’s Life©1966 #653A (12-23-16)*

Posted under That's Life Columns

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Twas the Night before Christmas Eve…


Here it is the night before-the night before Christmas and all through our home old Christmas stories are flowing like something that rhymes with home.


  1. Our all-time personal favorite is about our youngest son Joel, (who is now 37 and a fire-fighter-para-medic in Elk Grove) who was around eight years old at the time. He was at that age when believing in Santa was an iffy. He knew there was a Santa because every year since birth the real Santa brought him and his brother gifts and gave them to them personally. Santa gave them their bikes, toys and even a waterbed. Anyway, he came home from school saying his classmates were chiding him because he believed in Santa and defended his belief based on the fact Santa literally came to his house each year and gave him and his brother their gifts.

So he comes home from school in a huff saying the kids were making fun of him for believing in Santa. From a young age challenging the status quo never bothered him and he had a Rube Goldberg way of fixing things and making things happen. So not detoured, he came home in a huff to show those dummies in his class Santa did indeed exist. On Christmas Eve he set up an elaborate (remember he’s like 8) system of Lincoln logs, fishing line zig zagged all over the living room attached to a Polaroid camera to catch a picture of Santa when he came to the house. The bait of course was a glass of milk and cookies in the living room by the Christmas tree.

Well Santa did come to our house as usual while Joel and his brother were sleeping and Christmas morning instead of rushing to see what Santa left Joel rushed to see if his “Santa trap” caught anything… and you know what? It did. Laying just outside the Polaroid camera was a single picture of the real Santa with a startled look on his face with a half-eaten cookie and a glass of milk in his hand right in front of our Christmas tree,

He took the picture back to school and convinced the doubters that Santa Claus was real and he had the proof… so for at least one more year a group of eight year olds believed because they had seen proof of his existence. The next year when the question came up again I gave the same answer I/we’ve given for 50+ years…. “If you believe there is a Santa there is…. If you don’t believe there is, then there isn’t!”


The Little Boy’s Last Request



          A couple of decades ago there was a little boy named Michael Drake that live in Dixon. He had a terrible disease that was eating his body up at a rapid rate. The community put together fund raisers to help out the family because he needed blood transfusions to simply stay alive.

When we found the end was nearing we contacted his parents and asked about an in-home visit for him and his sister. They were delighted and said that was the one thing he wanted more than anything… to see Santa, but they couldn’t take him out.

Santa at the time had an alter ego by the name of Jack Fry, a rough voiced, truck driving red neck that helped us out for over 20 years. We talked it over and decided to do whatever it took to give the boy a great Christmas. So one evening very close to Christmas, after a 10 hour day of seeing hundreds of children we made arrangements to meet the boy and his sister and parents at their house a 6 p.m. We got there on a cold foggy night and they weren’t there. We tracked them down and found out he had to have another emergency blood transfusion and the parents said they wouldn’t expect us to wait. Jack and our eldest son Trey looked at each other and said we would wait as long as it took. We sat in the cold truck for a couple of hours until they showed up. We made a grand entrance with Santa’s bells tinkling a little more subdued than usual and a quitter tone. The boy and his sister we more than delighted.  We toned everything down. Michael asked if Santa would play cars with him. Santa was a big 300 or so pounds but he got down on the floor and for about a half and hour we watched as the boy and his sister opened their gifts and then our gentle giant of a Santa played with the children. After about 45 minutes Michael said, “Santa I’m sorry I’m awfully tired would you mind if I went to bed”. He gave Santa a long hug and, his energy completely drained, slowly went to bed. His parents, with moist eyes thanked us and said how much it meant to the kids and them. We went out to the truck and it was the first and only time I ever saw Santa cry. The second time, although he tried to hide it, was a few days later when the boy passed away.



“See Momma I Told You…”



                      Back further than that even was the family that gave us all the incentive we needed to carry on for another year. Each year it seems there’s one that makes you want to put forth the effort one more time. This time it was a family of a woman and her three little blond girls. They lived in a little house by the Catholic Church and we found out about them at the 12th hour on Christmas Eve. Again the crew was tired but we got our stuff together because we heard the youngest, maybe six or seven, told her mom not to worry because Santa Claus would come and bring them presents. It broke the mother’s heart to tell them she had NO money and there would be no presents this year because there really was no Santa Claus. Daddy had taken all the money and left the family and they had nothing.

We put together a food basket, plenty of toys and didn’t even tell mom we were coming. I knocked on the door and asked the family to assembly in the main room and all of a sudden, in a rush, comes Santa bells a jingling and ho-ho-hoing. We were stopped dead in our track when the littlest girl got an angry look on her face, put her hands on her hips and spit out… “See momma I told you there was too a Santa Claus!” Mom cried, the girls cried and Santa was speechless for a moment. It was a defining moment which has stayed with us for decades but brings homes the point… If you believe there is a Santa Claus there is!



This one is priceless




A lesson to be learned from typing the wrong email address!

A Minneapolis couple decided to go to Florida to thaw out during a particularly icy winter.  They planned to stay at the same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier. Because of hectic schedules, it was difficult to coordinate their travel schedules.  So, the husband left Minnesota and flew to Florida on Thursday, with his wife flying down the following day.

The husband checked into the hotel.  There was a computer in his room, so he decided to send an email to his wife.  However, he accidentally left out one letter in her email address, and without realizing his error, sent the e-mail. Meanwhile, somewhere in Houston, a widow had just returned home from her husband’s funeral.  He was a Baptist minister who was called home to glory following a heart attack.

The widow decided to check her e-mail expecting messages from relatives and friends.  After reading the first message, she screamed and fainted. The widow’s son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read:

To:  My Loving Wife
Subject: I’ve Arrived
Date: March 21, 2015

I know you’re surprised to hear from me.  They have computers here now and you are allowed to send emails to your loved ones.  I’ve just arrived and have been checked in.
I’ve seen that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow.  Looking forward to seeing you then!  Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.
P. S. Sure is freaking hot down here!



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