Saturday, January 29, 2022

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Joe's Extra

Yes, Juliette, there is a Santa Claus


No matter your problems and worries, nature is like a cool cloth against your warm forehead.

Yes, Juliette, there is a Santa Claus. Sure, it’s scary times — pestilence, politics and the end of the world as we know it. Not to mention your dad and mom suddenly being at home all the time. Which started out as if the carnival had come to town, but now it’s two adults worried about you, their health, their parents’ health, and, yes, they are looking at the checkbook an awful lot and mumbling about toilet paper. Go figure… toilet paper?

Not exactly a recipe for making fun cherry scones and singing songs about whales. But here we are.

And grandpas know things. Although we are many miles apart, and your vocabulary does not yet allow you to speak about the crisis that faces us all, I know that you get it. Heck, it was just a couple weeks ago that Grandma held you on her lap and chanted, “Who’s to blame?” And then you both wagged your fingers at me and chanted, “Grandpa.” See, you understand good and bad and right and wrong and the truth about Grandpa.

Of course, no matter the age, you can tell that something is just wrong.]


But, rest assured, Juliette, there is a Santa Claus. I saw him. Well, not exactly him. I mean, it is spring in Iowa. Give me a break. But I saw what Santa Claus represents — the magic in the world. How did I see magic? Hah! I looked out the window. This is what I saw:

Yup, it’s Michelle Tasler and her dinosaur buddy, Jack Hearne, walking down the sidewalk. Yup, an actual dinosaur. Can you believe it? Do you know why she is out walking her dinosaur? I sure didn’t. So I got closer to them, but very carefully and slowly so as not to become dinosaur applesauce, and I asked her why she is out walking her dinosaur.

“We had to get out of the house and wanted to bring some happiness to other people.”

Yes, Juliette, people are good. People understand what it means to stand together. People are unbelievably brave. And people can bring you happiness. And, Juliette, you are all those things and you, too, bring happiness. This is magic.

And just look outside. It is spring. And there is magic in spring. I was walking down near the creek, and beautiful flowers, nearly the color of your eyes, are just starting to poke through the wet ground. No matter your problems and worries, nature is like a cool cloth against your warm forehead. Go outside and let nature smooth away your troubles. I do.

And sometimes, if you look closely and breathe very slowly and don’t step on worms, you will see things in nature that are a bit surprising. Like when I looked inside this woodpecker’s hole:

Yikes! Is that a tree sprite? Or a pixie? Or a fairy? Or Grandma?

Yes, Juliette, there is a Santa Claus. Why? Because there is love. Sorry, I usually try not to use that word, but there it is… love. You are loved by so many people. And you will grow up to love so many people. It is the glue for good times and bad. And right now, it is everywhere, from the baggers at the grocery store to the doctors and nurses on the front line. Just reach up from your daddy’s shoulders and you will see it.

Yes, Juliette, there is a Santa Claus. ♦

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