Today is the day it really begins… Red Suit Time!

Just after noon today I’ll be interviewing for  job as an Internet Santa.  I have the potential to work from the comfort of a computer speaking to ill children in the hospital.  It is a great gig because there’s no travel from place to place (as is usually the case for Santa), you can talk to a huge number of kids all in one shot and you don’t have to wear long pants. (I have to check on that, but it seems they shoot the camera from the waist up.  Perhaps red shorts would be prudent…)

It protects the kids from my germy old hide and any diseases I pick up in the course of meeting thousands of children each year.

It allows me to minister to people using technology (they don’t have to know I’m silently praying for them, do they?)

And, it allows me to work on camera (which I love) in a non-studio setting. (NO hot lights!)

So, if you’re inclined, say a prayer for me about the audition.  I know whom I answer to when I put on that Red Suit.  God.  Only God has blessed me with this ministry and love of the Holy Days.  Only God has given me the gift to do this every year.  Only God has entrusted me with his lambs.

I appreciate His trust and will do my best to honor those children, their families, my employer, and the client.  I walk away from every Santa visit with a smile on my face and a glow in my heart.  Unlike what you’ve seen in too many television shows and movies, the great Santa’s do it for love, not money.  The guys I know who are really top shelf are making a great wage during the hours they “work” but they do more free visits to the poor and sick than you will ever know.  They sponsor parties for the military and the families of those deployed, they go into their own pockets for gifts, candy, cards and wrapping paper, and they give their time.  For a group of men who can only earn money doing the thing they love for about 45 days each year, giving a day of your time (or, several in many cases) is a big thing.  Could you give 10 days a year to a charity where you didn’t work for a wage?

But most of all, the men I estimate to be the best Santas are servants of the True and Living God.  Men of faith and love.  Men of dignity (and that includes their silly behavior at times) and courage.  Men who take a small child with just hours or days left in their lives into their hearts and share the life within them.  Men who cry quietly in their cars when the emotions overwhelm them in the wake of a visit. Men who do honor to Nicholas, Bishop of Myra.

I’m proud to wear that red suit.  It’s my favorite.  As a matter of fact, I choose to own no other.

Let it snow, let it snow… GET ME OUTTA HERE!

Yes, it snowed last night.  Nothing stuck, flurries only.  But it was a taste of what’s about to hit the area for real.

So today becomes the day to remove all the crud from the yard.  All the leftover shingle and tarpaper bits, the wrappers the wind blew in and the lawn furniture.  It’s time to mulch up the remaining leaves with the lawnmower and spread them over the flower beds in anticiption of spring.

Then, and only then, it is time to grab my blankie, suck my thumb, and sob in a corner of the bedroom with the lights out knowing that spring is 5 months away.  If we’re lucky.

Before anyone get’s too worked up, the next post is not about me.

I’ve been thinking about suicide a lot lately.  Seems that ghosts of the past, present, and  future have all conspired to gain my attention.

To those of you reading this (all three of you!) I’d like to beg you to spend some time thinking about this issue as well. 

If you are suicidal, quit reading my nonsense and pick up the phone to a suicide hot-line.    1-800-273-8255.  You are precious and irreplaceable and … well, suicide truly has never made anything better for anyone.

For those of you who know someone who has been acting out of sorts lately, depressed, distant, dark and moody, etc., find out why.  You might really annoy them by asking, but if they kill themselves you will never have the chance to ask or annoy them again.  Is your dignity worth more than their life?

You are probably wondering why this is on my mind?  Too many people I know have taken their own lives.  Too many people I know are in the process of taking their lives and I’m not yet aware of their plight. I wish I was.  I’d drop to my knees and start praying for each of them right now. I’d beg them to get help.

Suicide is preventable.  It is only a fatal issue if nothing is done to prevent it. 

So, pay attention to those around you and make sure that the troubled ones get some help.  Sometimes just your asking how they are and probing a bit can bring the darkness to the surface and allow you to help the person.  Knock on their door and drag them out to breakfast.  Make them  be a part of life before death claims them.

If you are in need of help, get it right now.  My friends know they can call me for that help.  You  have a friend that will do that for you.  Call 1-800-273-8255 and talk to someone today.

And, for those whom we’ve lost to suicide, our memories are tinged and darkened.  We all wish we’d known so that we could have helped.  But since there are  no time machines available, go and help those in need today.

Posts are lacking due to influenza.

Last week I got my annual flu shot so that I can be around immune compromised kids while wearing the red suit.

And, as used to happen with some regular frequency, I got the flu.  Moreover, I reverted to the form of a grumpy black bear with a bad attitude and hibernated.

Much improved, I have returned to work to inflict my charming self on my coworkers.

I apologize in adavance.