Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The summer that I met the real Santa Claus

Everyone seems to think that his name is Nick. They're wrong. His name's Rick. I don't remember his last name, but his first name was definitely Rick.

Rick didn't have elves. I heard that he had a bunch of kids, like maybe ten. I never met the kids. I don't know if they were really his kids or step-kids or foster kids. Maybe a combination. Or maybe they were all grown up by then. Anyway, I never met the kids, but I heard that he had a lot of them.

I worked one summer at an arcade that had lots of skeeball machines. Rick would come in and play skeeball several times a week. He didn't have a beard or white hair, just brown. He was tall and fat. He always wore suspenders to hold up his pants.

He was a very friendly guy who did nothing but play skeeball. A lot of skeeball. Like twenty dollars a night.

Some people play skeeball for fun. This guy played to win toys. He only occasionally looked up to see how much he'd won. He won a lot. He played some perfect games of 450, a lot of near perfect games of 410, and occasionally only a 370 or so. You win tickets depending on how high your score is, and sometimes you win extra stuffed animals for perfect games. Every time he came in he got one of those extra stuffed animals and spent enough tickets to buy between three and six more stuffed animals. And every time he came in he gave away a stuffed animal, or maybe two, or maybe three. He took home at least three stuffed animals and a bunch of tickets.

The stuffed animals he took home were stored until Christmas. In December he brought back the rest of his tickets and bought pretty much all of the cool stuff in the prize counter. Then he took the stuffed animals and other stuff and gave them to some orphans for Christmas.

Once in a while we'd have a slow day at the arcade, and there weren't really any kids around when he got ready to leave for the day. A couple of times he didn't see any kids he thought needed the stuffed animal, so he gave it to me instead. I had two stuffed animals given to me by the real Santa Claus. I don't have them anymore. I'm afraid I must have lost them when we moved from Fort Worth.

The mall with that arcade isn't there anymore. I wonder where Santa Claus moved to?


David in DC said...

That is a beautiful story. I teared up reading it.

Thank you.

The Diva's Thoughts said...

That really is a sweet story.

dmarks said...

Ranks up there with the Spork. Which is great for different reasons.