HO HO HO
Not long ago, maybe a month, one Saturday afternoon, we more or less were hanging out in downtown Marietta Glover Park when I heard someone holler my name, “Eddie!”
I looked in the direction of the voice and there was only an old man with a white shaggy beard I didn't recognize. I looked beyond him and there were no one but a couple of teenage girls in evening gowns.
A lot of girls were there that Saturday, with photographers and parent photographers, posing. I think they were posing in their high school prom garb with the big tier water fountain in the background.
Maybe the old white bearded man was calling someone behind me that that sounded like my name, I turned around. More clusters of teenage girls in their evening finery…. Maybe one’s name is Betty and I just thought he said Eddie.
This time he was closer, he said it again. It was plainly “Eddie”. I double-focused on the old dishevel bearded man and saw it wasn’t a shaggy white beard at all, it was a neatly trimmed white beard. And the old man was David Hunter, my first cousin, about eight years younger than me.
We greeted each other. It is always nice to run into David. David told us he was growing a beard because he would be playing Santa Claus at events in December.
David is a community minded person and occasionally I see his picture in the paper doing something for the community.
Last week his picture was in the Marietta Daily Journal playing Santa Claus for a group of kids. Some were sitting in his lap.
It reminded me of when David was the age of those children that were around him in the picture.
My Daddy loved to play Santa on the phone to all his nieces and nephews. He called his nieces and nephews one at a time and give a big hearty “Ho Ho Ho” and tell them he was Santa and probably scared them shitless and asked them have they been good and what they wanted for Christmas and things about their school grades. He did a good job. He loved to interact with kids like that. His Ho HO Ho was an enthused Ho Ho Ho, not like the Ho Ho Ho of the bored Santa in Jean ShepArd's CHRISTMAS STORY.
Another thing Daddy did was get his nieces and nephews in his lap and tell them mind bending stories. He made them up as he went along. The story would always be an adventure story starring two little kids that just so happened to have the same names of the two kids sitting on his knees. They would get lost in the woods and have would death one defying close call after another – from hanging on to a log going down a river towards a very high waterfall to being chase by a bear - but they were always saved in the nick of time.
I used to love to sit nearby and listen to story and watch the spell-bound kids engrossed in what they were hearing.
One time, I think it was David and his brother Johnny, were sitting on Daddy’s lap, and David was So drawn into the impossible to get out alive plot he let out a cry and hit Daddy square in the face.
I don’t remember if the story continued or not, I was too busy on the floor rolling in laughter.