A jolly old thumbs up

It was one of the most flattering compliments I’ve ever received. I’m always amazed when someone I don’t know recognizes me and says they admire my work. It doesn’t happen all the time, which makes it all the more special. And it always catches me off guard.

These unexpected words always help offset the complaints that trickle in to my phone or inbox, which is part of the deal when you’re a sports editor. But on Monday night, I wasn’t working when I received a pat on the back from jolly old St.Nick. My wife, daughter (Nina) and I rushed out of the house before dinner was ready in order to catch Santa Claus at the Gallatin Valley Mall. He was there until 6:30 that night, so the chicken and stuffing was taken out of the oven and off we went. Nina has been to see Santa at the mall in each of the two prior years that we’ve had her, so there was no concern of whether she wouldn’t want to go. Some kids get freaked out by Kris Kringle, but Nina isn’t one of them. She had an issue with the Easter Bunny once, but Santa rates very highly with her. Anyhoo, the picture and the sitting on Santa’s lap routine took mere minutes (there was another girl there who was crying, but Nina stepped right up), and that was that. Or so I thought. After Nina crawled off Santa’s lap, he motioned toward me. I didn’t move at first – what kind of business does he want with me? Then he said, “dad, come over here.” So over I went. You don’t disobey Santa. “Are you Tim?” he said. I wanted to blurt out, “I’ve been good this year, Santa.” But I just gave a simple “yes.” He then said how he enjoys my articles in the paper. Whoa. I couldn’t believe it! I really have been good this year. Santa likes my stuff. He then told me how his daughters work at the MSU bookstore and how he thought Bobcat football player Jordan Craney was a good kid. We talked for a bit longer before it was time for the girl who had been crying to give the guy in the red suit another try. I shook Santa’s gloved hand and off I went. I know he’s just a guy playing a part (the beard was indeed real), but it was flattering for him to go out of his way and offer me a compliment the way he did. Our next trip to the mall for a picture with Nina will be in the spring when the Easter Bunny visits. But I won’t be looking for any compliments – EB doesn’t say much. Besides, when it comes to that sort of thing, I’m good. For goodness sake.


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December 2010
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