Robert Hitt Neill column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Santa call foiled by modern technology

We last week took note of the Jolt of Joy which had been delivered to thousands of youngsters over two or three decades by their getting personal calls from Santa, Miz Santa, and the Elves at the North Pole workshop during the weeks before Christmas, those Calls being helped along by Tollie and Angie Miller and their boys Glenn, Bill, and Chris, from their Leland home.  

Our kids were thrilled for years by those Official Calls From Santa, accompanied by the jingling of sleigh bells from the reindeers’ impatient pawing, the instructions from Miz Santa calling out requested gifts to the workshop Elves, and the replies of those busy little Elves in the background, as our youngsters breathlessly conversed with Old St. Nick himself on the phone.

In response to that column, I had a reply from Cuddin Clif Lusk, a Certified Jake who grew up spending a lot of time in our home, and had heard the Legend of the Calls From Santa, perhaps even having had one hisownself whilst he visited Brownspur.  

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Cuddin Clif followed in the footsteps of his Uncle Bob and his own father Owen, in becoming a writer and turning out his own regular columns for a period of time himself.

Seems that when Cuddin Clif achieved Fatherhood, he therefore was inspired to re-enact those same Tollie-type Santa Calls for his own growing tribe, and did so without detection for several years, until daughter Mary Lacy got old enough to talk to Santa.

Readers may need to understand that Cuddin Clif inherited his luck – or lack thereof – from his Uncle Bob, and apparently passed it along to Mary Lacy. She’s the only other one in the family that I know of besides me who has been snakebit, literally.  

So far only once, but she started younger than I did on hers, since I was in college when I got struck by a moccasin, the first of my three poisonous snake strikes. At any rate, this little girl has had to learn to prepare herself in advance for whatever cards she is being dealt at any particular time of day.

So it came to pass that when this Snake Queen was four or five years old that Cuddin Clif departed his domicile one evening for a “very important meeting” right before Christmas, and went to a friend’s home to begin making his Santa Calls, starting with other kids than his own.

One mother later confessed that she’d had no inkling of the super-secret gift that her daughter “wanted more than anything in the world.”

Therefore, Cuddin Clif was pretty pepped up when he began to dial his own number, where wife Buffy had young Mary Lacy conveniently close enough for her to be able to answer the phone before anyone else in the family. The little girl was obviously thrilled, and opened up with both barrels, giving the Jolly Old Elf a list “five miles long!”

“Ho, ho, ho!” exclaimed Santa, when she paused to take a breath, “So, have you been good enough for Old Santa to bring you all these gifts, Mary Lacy?”

She sure had been, the Snake Queen explained, obviously speaking loud enough for her listening Mom to hear and to be reassured that she was worthy. Santa promptly congratulated her on her conduct, and promised to come by her house on Christmas Eve with gifts galore.

But Santa had not yet hung up the phone over at his friend’s house when he heard Buffy ask if she had been talking to Santa, “in that tone of voice that mothers always use when they ask a question to which they already know the answer.”

Little Mary Lacy shook her head at Mom matter of factly as she reached to hang up the phone.

“Oh, he said it was Santa all right, but it was just my Daddy over at Mr. Tom’s house. I know that because it was on the Caller ID.”

Modern Technology!

Sometimes we get too smart for our own good.