By Dwane Starlin
Last month, on Sunday evening, December 11, to be precise, I had returned to my home on 37th Street NW around 6 pm when I spied a curious sight on my porch: a white-bearded gentleman dressed in a spectacular red suit trimmed with white fur. His head was topped off with a matching cap. He had removed his tall black boots and was rubbing the bottoms of his feet gingerly.
As I approached him, he greeted me loudly with an enthusiastic “Merry Christmas!” He followed his greeting with a hardy, “Ho, Ho, Ho, are my feet tired!” Surmising that he was indeed Santa, I inquired why he was visiting Burleith two weeks before his usual arrival. He advised that he was performing a spot check in advance of the big night. “I was monitoring my Elf on the Shelf surveys and thought I would pop in. And I must say that I am favorably impressed. Over a span of three hours, I visited around 20 homes and chatted with close to 40 youngsters as well as many of their parents.”
Pausing to give his bunions some attention, he then continued, “The children are wonderfully varied in their backgrounds and interests, but each and every one of them was bright and delightful! They introduced me to their various pets and stuffed animals. I particularly enjoyed being part of several “First” Christmases which included three-week and ten-week-old infants as well as a five-year-old lad from Serbia whom I greeted with ‘Stravo.’ Throughout my stay in Burleith, I also conversed in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, German, and Gaelic.”
Just as I started to comment about all he had said, I heard jingling bells and a loud clatter as an unusual form of transport pulled up to the curb. In a flash he slipped on his boots, clicked his heels, and boarded the waiting vehicle which instantly took to the sky. I spotted a bright shining red nose and a blur of antlers and heard his farewell, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.”
I turned and went in to my house where I was greeted with “Welcome back. How was your day?”