Meet Bobby, one of our great case managers, and the passion and love he brings to children this time of year.
It Takes More Than the Suit
Nothing, absolutely nothing, aggravates me more than to see someone wearing a Santa suit and regretting every minute. It’s embarrassing for them as well as to the children. This is what I call “A Fake Santa”. I know I am not your typical average Santa. Most people will quickly learn this when they ask if I like acting as Santa, and get a prompt reply of “ACT! I don’t act like Santa – I AM Santa”. Too forward? Well then, let me put it another way. I am a true believer in the Spirit of Christmas. The character “Santa Claus” is a conception, and one that, unfortunately, has been used, abused and monopolized in order to increase sales and revenue. I can’t, and won’t, challenge that. But what I try to represent is for others, young and old, to believe in something so special words cannot describe. Take, for example, the feelings and experience of Joy! Charity! Sharing and Caring! Unconditional Love and Happiness! Humility! Anonymity! Devotion and Dedication to Family and/or Loved Ones! and last, but definitely not least, Gratitude! These words are easy to say but very hard to describe. Instead I think it is just easier to live them instead to explain their meaning. You know, looking back at what I just wrote kinda makes you wonder if Santa was in the Program! Truthfully, this blessing of sobriety is why it’s only natural for me.
I have been Santa for many years now. And the times have changed since Lynne (don’t call her Mrs. Claus) and I came back to work at La Ha (3 years). I don’t see nearly as many children as I normally do. But even with that said, last year it was over 2000. And I do love every minute of it! It is not uncommon for folks to ask if I ever get tired of the kids. On the contrary, it’s the grownups that can be the biggest hassle. I try to be open and honest but I have to admit that when I am asked by the little ones, “Where’s Rudolph? Do you have elves? Where is your sleigh?- etc..” I consider their age and I do go along with the legend. However, if they are older – now this is where it gets fun. You see there really was a real person who started all of this. His name was Nicholas and he lived way up in the mountains of what is called Turkey today. Every Christmas he would go down to the village and place coins that he had saved all year long in the shoes of the children. Back then everyone put their muddy shoes outside. He did this and a lot of other good deeds for a very long time until he was gone. Later on he was known as Saint Nicholas. Then everyone else created their own versions. However, all of them shared the same symbolism: charity and goodwill. Oh yes, and Rudolph was a country music song written and sung by Tex Ritter back in the 50’s. Other details and personal standards are far too many to go into but some are very clear to me: I never promise anybody anything, I do always listen, I don’t make an appearance unless I am requested. Because of the type of “gigs” I do, I rarely charge anything but I do accept hugs and cookies. And I always ask children to listen to their elders and do what they are told, especially when they don’t want to, say their prayers at night and always believe that the Spirit of the Season will be with you today and always!!!