A CHRISTMAS ENCOUNTER

The following letter was sent to me by a gentleman of advanced age who wishes to remain anonymous. He asked me to publish it in my blog hoping the addressee will eventually receive it. I hope at least one of you out there knows the exact address. A retired elf, perhaps.

Dear Santa: Please forgive me for not writing in 58 years. You might remember in my last letter I asked for a pony and you brought me a cowboy suit instead. I forgave you for that long ago.

This is to thank you for the very big favor you did for me last Christmas Eve. I hope I didn’t complicate your busiest night of the year. That evening I’d had a quiet get-together with a few friends at a local coffee house to celebrate the holiday or “holy day” as it was once called.

Apparently the coffee was too strong since it affected my ability to concentrate and also to stand up straight. Emerging from the inn, I couldn’t remember what my car looked like, or even if I owned one. In any case, my condition ruled out driving, so I walked off through the falling snow in what I hoped was the general direction of my home.

Trudging down a wooded path I bumped into someone, a small boy, I thought, until I noticed his beard. He was wearing odd looking colorful clothes. Everything ended in points. I said, “Hello” and he answered, “Brixnitzl!” which I assumed, by his expression, was a plea for help with the big sack he was dragging through the snow. So I grabbed one corner and we pulled it down the path into a little grove.

That’s when I met you, Santa. I was sure it was you from the very first “Ho!” The reindeer, the sled and the elves clinched it and I realized I was having a close encounter of the Christmas kind. You thanked me for helping Johann retrieve the toys that had fallen off your sled and you asked why I was out walking in a snowstorm.

When I explained my predicament, you winked and said, “We’ll be glad to give you a lift, won’t we boys?” All the elves shouted “Brixnitzl!” which I knew by then was a friendly affirmative. However, I noticed the two lead reindeer (Dancer and Prancer?) were eyeing my bulk and wincing.

Santa, that was the most thrilling ride I ever had, flying over my home town in the hushed silence of a snowy Christmas Eve, broken only by an occasional “Ho, Ho, Ho!” and the huffing and puffing of the reindeer. I hope Prancer’s strain is healing.

I’m writing to thank you, but also because you’re only one of the two people certain to believe my story. Gene Newman promised to put this letter in his blog, hoping it will reach you through one of his many readers. (Well, he said he has many readers.)

I’m sure Gene believes my wonderful tale. He’s noted for his unbridled imagination. He believes equally and wholeheartedly in both you and the New York Mets.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Brixnitzl!

P.S.: About my 1964 letter. Please cancel that order.

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