Commonwealth Journal

December 25, 2011

A Stand-In Santa’s Plea

Local mall Santa sees some great needs

By JOHN ALEXANDER, Guest Columnist
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —  

Dear Santa: I’m not sure where to begin with my letter to you this year. I know I usually wait and report in to you after the first of the year and after everything has settled down, but I feel I need to tell you some things before you go on your mission this year. 
Santa, I’ve had a wonderful year. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the song “Last Christmas” but I’ve spent most of this Holiday Season with that song running through my head...
“Last Christmas, I gave you my heart but the very next day you gave it away. This year, to save me from tears, I’ll give it to someone special.”
I ended last year very much the same way I started this one. Heartbroken. Sad. Hopeless. There are a lot of people out there who feel the same way. But then something hap-pened. Through what can only be described as a miracle, I picked myself up and I began to laugh. I turned my pain around and I actually started making others laugh. That led to stand up comedy which eventually led to the job I have now at WYKY and WTLO. It took what seemed forever, but I’m finally in a good place. This is the happiest I’ve been in a very long time. I think I’m where I’m supposed to be and doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m back in radio where I belong... where I feel most like me.
Last Christmas nearly killed me but this Christmas I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. 
That’s why I’m writing you with a heavy heart, Santa. Maybe I was broken last year to prepare me for this year. As you know, I help you in North American Sector 42503: Mall District 1138. In years past, I’ve had my share of troubling requests. When asked by a child for something intangible, for the impossible, I usually just say, “I’ll see what I can do.” That’s the best way I can get through it, Santa. You remember a few years ago when a young man made a request for his father, a wounded veteran. The boy asked for his father to get his arm back. Do you remember all the children who have wanted their parents to get back together. Year in and year out, children ask for the impossible. 
This year has been no different, Santa, but this year it seems like there are more people searching for hope than ever before. I wanted to tell you before you go on your mission that children and their parents need you now more than ever. I need you now more than ever. 
I do have some wonderful news related to two of my favorite kids I see every year. You remember little Seth who has Autism? He seems to be doing well. He’s a huge movie buff, of course, and all he has asked for this year is an iPad. Dear Santa, if you can, be sure that he gets one of those, ok? It would mean a lot to me. 
And tonight a very special boy, Alex, came to see me. For the past six years, he has been unable to communicate with me but tonight was different. He was able to communicate with me better than he ever has. Most importantly, he was so happy to see Santa Claus. Dear Santa, help him continue to do better. 
And so many children look forward to seeing him. And that includes older folks with child-like hearts. A 97 year-old woman came to me and actually said that she didn’t think she’d have too many more Christmases but she sure has been blessed to have seen so many. I could see in her eyes how much enjoyment she got out of seeing Santa Claus. Dear Santa, could you please let her see just a few more Christmases? 
There was a very special family that came to see me this year that had a request I actually hadn’t heard before. Each of the kids came up to me and asked for their Daddy to come back home safe. I figured that their father was stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Their father is a trucker and each of them asked me for his safe return. Dear Santa, while you’re on your mission could you please check in on him?
The one request that has laid the heaviest on my heart was a request from a sweet little six-year old girl. She came up to me and I asked her what she wanted for Christmas. All she said was one word. "Healthy." I asked again what she wanted, not under-standing the request and again all she said was the word "healthy." 
"I'll see what I can do.”
Then the Mom comes up to talk to Santa and the photographer, telling us what was so special about the girl being there this year. This is the first year the girl hasn't been in the hospital at Christmas. She has Cystic Fibrosis and her life expectancy is only ten to fourteen years. She's six. It suddenly made sense to Santa what the girl wanted. She had already had a lung transplant. She just wanted to be healthy. The Mom had no clue what her daughter had asked for. Dear Santa, I’ll go to a higher authority on this one...
Dear God, please help this little girl. Dear God, please help the struggling single father who can barely clean up his kids but is doing everything he can to make sure they’re happy. Dear God, help all those who have lost hope this year. Please let them know that when they least expect it, you will give them the strength they need to carry on. Last Christmas, all I asked for was for my heart to not be so broken. And now, my heart is stronger than it has ever been. 
Finally, Santa, where-ver you are on Christmas Eve, whether that be Liberty, Kentucky or Lawrenceburg, Indiana or somewhere on the other side of the world, please know this. I will be with you in spirit. Thank you so much for letting me see the world through your eyes and reminding folks to always give their hearts to someone special. 
God bless you all and Merry Christmas...