I rode the bandwagon for a while after April 27. My soul and my city needed to heal, and I had enough ego to believe that a few positive stories by me would do it.
I have now once again embraced my long-standing love/hate relationship with Cordova.
I wish the city and its people no ill will; I just refuse to continue drinking too much of the blue Kool-Aid.
I caused a bit of an uproar a few weeks ago with a sarcastic Facebook post about my intention to call a press conference and officially change my commitment like football players do. I signed it “a river rat willing to convert.”
But last week Santa Claus came to town and reminded me why it’s not so terrible to be a Blue Devil.
He got some help from Cordova’s own Mr. and Mrs. Pounds.
I have known who they are for years but never officially met them until the Vision-Impaired People (VIP) support group’s Christmas party on Tuesday.
Some VIP members had graciously invited me, and my boss had asked me to interview the Pounds about their work as Santa and Mrs. Claus while I was there.
I arrived a little late and planned to sit quietly in a corner until they could take a break.
Much to my surprise, Santa noticed me walk in and invited me right up on his lap.
I’m sure my cheeks were as rosy as his at first because I hadn’t found myself in that position in years.
I didn’t have a good answer when he asked what I wanted for Christmas. It’s my job as a parent to pick up the tab for Santa, not expect him to grant wishes.
He let me fumble around for a few seconds before guessing (correctly) that I am the type of person who likes to be surprised on Christmas morning based on some hints that I drop strategically throughout the year.
After I stepped down and accepted my candy cane, I got to see the Clauses in action.
Santa presented a bag of snowman poop that looked a lot like giant marshmallows to one of the VIP’s.
Everyone else got a stocking stuffed full of goodies and Mrs. Claus recited “The Night Before Christmas.”
Once Santa had blessed the meal, we three went into the hallway to talk.
I ended up sitting at Santa’s feet with tears in my eyes as he recalled a tough little guy who requested a new life for Christmas years ago.
Santa respects children enough to be honest with them, so he told the young man that even Saint Nick can’t change the lousy hand that life deals us sometimes.
However, he encouraged the child to overcome his circumstances by taking responsibility for his own actions and attitude.
Santa didn’t know what happened to the little boy. I like to think that their chat inspired a criminal in the making to do something wonderful with his life instead.
Santa practices what he preaches. He knows that innocent eyes are always on him, and he is careful to make sure that they don’t see or hear anything they shouldn’t.
Mr. and Mrs. Pounds could be relaxing in their retirement. Instead, they work from daylight until dark spreading holiday cheer to children, the mentally challenged and senior citizens without asking for anything in return.
Although I only spent a short time with them, I believe they are genuine people who do a good thing because it’s the right thing, not because they hope everyone is looking.
Pure souls like that are rare. I don’t come across many in this job, but they always seem to come along just when I’m losing all faith in humanity, myself included.
Last week I was reminded what it feels like to have the heart of a child.
So yes, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist.
And luckily for my hometown, he roots for the Blue Devils.