He had heard, he told her, that she was a very special little girl, and that he wanted to meet her in person.
She was thrilled -- especially after a conversation the week prior with her mother about St. Nicholas and whether or not the Santa at a school fundraiser was the REAL Santa Claus. While her mother tried to explain that the real St. Nicholas was known for his generosity to others, what Lil came away with was her shocked question, "Santa Claus is DEAD???"
Her mother spent the next half hour reassuring her child that the spirit of St. Nicholas lives on in each of us who give to others, but Lil was broken-hearted.
And then Santa arrived, serendipitously when Mommy and Daddy had gone to the store. He was a truly amazing Santa, with a real white beard and a huggably plush red coat. He had to be six feet five, not the jolly little elf from the poem.
When Mommy got back from the supermarket, Lillian shouted, "He's not dead, Mama! Santa Claus is alive!!"
That the man in the red suit knew about Lillian is true. He is the father of a family friend; indeed, he donated a number of large fish to our pond, though we haven't had the heart to tell him the egret has eaten a substantial portion of them.
Merry Christmas, Lil.
And to all who read this blog, have a beautiful holiday season.