The Santa who swooped down along Seventh Street two Saturday mornings ago, from atop a fire truck gleaming in the bright winter sun, had more to say than just “Ho Ho and Ho” and merry Christmas.
“Have you been good?” he called out in his megaphone, to the kids along the street, and when they started to shout their answers, he retorted “We’ll talk about that later.”
His visit had been arranged by Beano Simmons, who each year handles that assignment at the Holy Family Senior Center, or sometimes at the former Apalachicola High School, or at one time A.J. Restaurant.
Coming alive to the kids as a jolly source of moral instruction, Santa welcomed the many masked children with a series of questions, putting them both at ease, and off-guard.
“I want the good cookies,” he pointed out.
Familiar with the families whose children he was seeing, Santa asked questions that showed he had the uncanny power to see through any masking maneuver the child might be trying. He kidded the kids, he joked, and he teased
“I haven’t been naughty,” insisted first grader Khylan.
“We can work with that,” replied Santa.
In the end he reassured them, reminding them they had until Dec. 25 to straighten up and fly right.
“Remember what Santa said,” he said. “You have two weeks to get it together.”
Santa’s visit was hosted by the H’COLA (Hillside Coalition of Laborers, with gift bags stocked with all sorts of treats, including a book from Bring Me A Book Franklin.
This article originally appeared on The Apalachicola Times: A talk with Santa