Fergus Santa

WriteOut of Her Mind by Kelly Waterhouse

I met up with Santa Claus at a coffee shop in downtown Fergus a few weeks ago.

He was holding court at his usual table, surrounded by friends. I knew it was him, though he wasn’t dressed in his usual red suit, opting instead to blend in with the regulars. We’ve met here before. He even knows my dad. Some would say he’s just a local fellow, but I know better. He’s the real deal. I believe.

On this particular morning, I suspect I didn’t look as merry as he hoped. Fair assessment. It was already a day I wished I could start over and it wasn’t yet 9am.

I took my spot in the back of the line to buy my morning mood adjustment (also known as coffee). Our eyes met briefly, just long enough for me to realize that this man had a jolly sense of humour and joy for life that was immediately contagious. His essence was both welcoming and unnerving to me.

Could anyone really be this cheerful at this hour of the day, and be kind to every stranger in the room without causing alarm? Yes, Fergus Santa could.

I smiled back shyly, hoping I reflected even a smidgeon of his happiness back to him. We exchanged a “good morning.” As I turned to resume my place in line, Fergus Santa reached over and handed me a red and white pen with the words “Santa Claus” on it. He said it was in case I felt inspired to write him a letter with my Christmas wishes.

Clever man, handing a writer a pen on deadline day. How did he know? It was a sweet gesture. I have used that pen every day since.

I hope Fergus Santa sees this column, so he knows I honoured his gift, even if I had to type out this draft. Keeping my unspoken promise, I would like to submit the following as my Christmas wish list.

It’s pretty simple, really. My greatest holiday wish is time. Family time. Friend time. Easy-going, peace of mind and happiness of heart time. I want to goof off with the people I love. I want to enjoy the magic of Christmas without cynicism. I don’t want to worry about the cost of the holidays, or obsess over gifts that didn’t get bought because I wasn’t willing to put myself further into debt. I just want to be as mellow as the marshmallows that float in my almond milk hot chocolate. Mellow. So mellow.

The next wish though, I need you and yours to help me make come true. It’s simple too.

Let’s all remember that the holidays are a hard time for many people who are hurting. Maybe they are grieving. Perhaps a relationship has ended. Family may be far away. Resources may be scarce. Whatever the scenario, if we could all do our part to make one another feel valued and understood, that would be amazing. Remember that ribbons and bows won’t fix what’s broken, but a genuine hug, an extra place setting at your dinner table or a phone call (not a text) to let them know they are in your thoughts sets the healing in motion. It’s the season of giving, so my wish is that we practice compassion. And that if you need support, you’ll be open to receiving it.

Next time I see Fergus Santa, I’m going to buy that jolly fellow a coffee. I believe he’d like that.

Merry Christmas.

WriteOut of Her Mind