Thursday, January 5, 2017

"Lucky parents who have fine children usually have lucky children who have fine parents." ~ James A. Brewer

Dad, at the hospital last Tuesday, still smiling!
Good morning and welcome to our time together on this Thursday, January 5, 2017. I think I may have figured it out. We no longer have trouble with the date in the New Year because, for the most part, we no longer write checks. Yes, I am aware that most of you already knew that. It came to me while I was sitting here so I thought I would share it. I do remember back in the day when it took several weeks for us all to get on board writing the date correctly. I am glad to report that my mom is progressing well and has now been relocated to a rehab facility where she will continue to receive 24-hour care. This latest challenge for our 92.5-year-old mom has not been without incident. Coming out of the surgery she was somewhat disoriented and not necessarily a happy go lucky person with staff moving her around so quickly. Dad has been right there with her and all I can say is that man is something to behold. Even with their hearing aids they mostly don't hear what the other one is saying. However, somehow they instinctively have a sense of what is being said and usually, they guess right. Mom was a child of the Great Depression. She also has faced many huge challenges in her life and she appears to be ready to take this one on, head on with dogged determination. She told someone the other day that when it comes down to it she is a 'tough old goat'. I think her toughness is well attested to in her sojourn here on the planet. We are thankful for her and dad and for God's grace and provision in their lives at this time. Amen.

Red Cap, one year ago.
Someone asked me the other day how much longer I would be coming in each day to work. I couldn't think of a quick answer so I told them I thought maybe I would keep on keeping on until I run out of red caps. I bought a dozen of them the year before last and I now have seven new ones remaining. I have no idea if the red cap usage will become the determining factor but it sounded like a good answer at the time. I've already gotten myself into one fairly intense physically demanding episode this week, and, while I ended up being sore the next day, I was surprised that I handled it as well as I did. I can assure you when I no longer can function the way the job requires I will be ready to hang up my spurs. For you purists, the answer is no, I do not wear spurs in my job. It's a figure of speech. Like when the old cowboy can't handle his chores any longer, he hangs up his spurs. You have probably heard the joke about the inexperienced rider mounting the horse and taking off. Up and down the horse went with the rider hanging on for dear life. Soon the rider began to call out for help. Fortunately, the store manager heard the cry for help and came to the rescue by unplugging the horse. That sounds like an appropriate story for me as I contemplate this brand new year and all that it might entail.

I am enjoying reading the just past season reviews from my comrades who also wear the red at Christmastime. Many share their experiences of how things went using a particular booking agency or other types of technical information. Others talk about that 'one' moment that captured their heart. Often those have to do with a child dealing with a serious illness or maybe a special needs kid. Some talk about funny or embarrassing things that happened. A number of years ago I was in the chair at a huge venue when the professional photographer's set came tumbling down all around me. Talk about scary! Here's an example of one posting that is very sobering: "One of my best Santa friends collapsed 3 days before Christmas eve on the set in full gear in front of all the children and the ambulance came with the attendants picking him up and loading him on the gurney. The Company was more concerned about not finishing the season than anything else. He is an active teacher, in his 70s and loved the short time he was Santa." I know I handled a lot of children this year who had runny noses and sniffles. Last year I picked up a bad cold, but, this year, thus far, I've dodged that bullet, thank the Lord. Why parents insist on bringing their unwell children for photos is beyond me, but, they do. Sadly, a few of my professional brethren have had serious issues in not getting paid. They did the work but have not yet received the agreed to fees. They are really upset about it. I count ourselves, that is, our version of The Santa and Mrs. Claus, to be very blessed in never having any issues of that kind. And, the people we work with each year are some of the finest folks around. That is the honest truth. The work itself can be grueling but when you get to love on children of all ages and you are treated so well by those who engage your services, well, that, my friend, is a blessing. I'm trying to think of that 'one' moment this past season for me. Maybe it will come to me later. When it does, I will let us all know, including myself. Not necessarily in that order. Or, something to that effect. Take care. Enjoy your day. Give God the glory. Amen. ....More later.

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