BBQ and Santa

Several days ago, I was visiting with Santa, asking him what I might get my son-in-law for Christmas as I had drawn his name. During this conversation, I asked Santa if he would like to come over and bar-b-cue one evening. He said the elves were pretty well caught up and he would make time. He told me that all the kids wanted this year anyway were electronic games and phones and he wasn’t much good at wiring that sort of thing.

I asked Santa what he would like to eat and he said he heard I was pretty good with chicken and ribs so that’s what we had. I used our family special sauce (lemon, olive oil, Worcestershire, seasonings and no tomato) along with Richard’s Famous Seasoning (another family recipe from my mother’s brother). I put it on to cook and I fixed Santa an Irish whiskey on the rocks and a Jack Daniels for me. It was cold out but Santa is accustomed to the cold. We built a fire in the little firebox while we enjoyed our drinks.

Santa put his feet up and began to reminisce. He said he really enjoys his job – lots of travel and always meeting people. He gets real joy from giving to others and making spirits bright. He admitted to being a little bit curious also. He really got a kick out of seeing how people decorated their trees and fixed up their houses for Christmas. He particularly enjoyed the “goodies” that people set out for him.

After a couple hours of slow cooking and two more Irish whiskeys and Jacks, we were ready to eat. We were both a little tipsy as we sat down. I will say that I can understand why Santa is a little heavy. He can really eat. The chicken didn’t stand a chance. The food was good and Santa said it was some of the best bar-b-cue he’s had.

After dinner we fed the fire and got a fresh drink. It was lightly snowing–a beautiful night. I offered Santa one of my dollar cigars, which he gladly accepted. As he lit his cigar he became reflective and began telling me about the meaning of Christmas. He told me Christmas is about giving, not receiving. It is about you and not about me. It is a time to be thankful for all of life’s blessings. It’s a time to remember those we love and those we don’t even know. He said he was especially pleased when he sees someone helping out at a food bank or putting money into a Salvation Army kettle. He loves to see people bringing food and gifts to the homeless and less fortunate.

He reminded me that we celebrate a birthday at Christmas. We celebrate the birth of One who showed us how to live and how to bring peace to all. He didn’t get into the organized religion side of it because he felt this was a personal choice and people often argue over religion too much anyway. Santa said probably most of the wars throughout history were started over religious issues.

We talked about all kinds of things. Santa loves Christmas music like I do. He felt that Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, John Denver and Mahalia Jackson really got it right. Santa plays a pretty mean saxophone and was sorry he didn’t bring it but promised we’d jam another time. I can just hear him playing Blue Christmas—white beard, rosy cheeks, bouncing belly and all—Elvis would love it.

He talked about the old days and said it was important to remember them for the lessons they teach and the memories they bring. He also said it was equally important to look ahead with open eyes and an open heart. Every action we take can be one that betters mankind and brings joy to others. He felt we had a strong obligation to promote the brotherhood of man and peace on earth. He said we must take care of the children—good examples, lots of love and much encouragement.

As the night drew to a close, I told Santa that Jan and I were going to spend Christmas with our children and grandkids. We were also having a homeless family join us for Christmas Dinner. I promised him that I would try to remember what he had told me and share his wisdom with all. He thanked me and told me that he would be back and maybe bring Mrs. Claus. He wanted her to get a couple of the recipes. He gave me a big hug, which I returned, and bid me good night and told me to always love, laugh, and live.

I watched as he got in his sleigh and was glad the sky traffic was light. The sleigh weaved a little from side to side as he took off. I realized how special this evening was. As Ray Charles sings, “That spirit of Christmas is truly amazin’”.

With this, I bid you a fond “Merry Christmas and a good night to all.”

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