Posts Tagged ‘Curly Howard’

My Doozie of an Experience as Santa Claus

Tuesday, January 26th, 2021

“We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”

— Mother Teresa

The 3 stages of a man’s life are:

1) He believes in Santa Claus.

2) He doesn’t believe in Santa Claus.

3) He is Santa Claus.

I work as a substitute teacher in Tucson, Arizona

There are good days and bad days in the life of a substitute teacher. Sometimes, I am satisfied to just survive and live to teach another day.

My substitute teacher motto is: “I am proud to be a substitute teach, until I win the lottery.

Simpson Elementary School is where I often teach. I know the teachers and the students and we are usually one, big happy family.

One day, Ms. Sandy, a giant of a woman who looms over me, asked, “Mr. Terry, the other teachers and I would like you to do us a big, big favor.”

“Ms. Tammy, as you well know, I do the work of 3 men. Larry, Moe and Curley. So ask away.”

“Mr. Terry, would you be Santa Claus for us at the Christmas celebration this year?”

“Some people might consider me too thin to be Santa Claus,” I say. “They allege that I am so thin that I have to move around in the shower to get wet, but I am a warrior; not a worrier, and I have a big pillow.”

“Ms. Tammy it is my honor to be Santa Claus.  Count me in!”

When the big day arrives, about 60 kids, parents, and teachers are packed into the library like sardines in a can.

I put on my Santa costume in a library storage room.

I hear the sing-singy voice of Ms. Tammy. “Okay Santa we are ready for you.”

I bound out of the closet. “Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!” I say.

“Yaaaaay” The kids scream. Some kids gap in amazement. Many kids run up and hug me. They surround me like the Munchkins did to Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

Wearing the Santa costume has transformed me. I could actually channel the spirit of Santa Claus. I radiated overwhelming love for the kids and I absorbed their love for me.

I wedged my way through the wall of little bodies to get to the Santa Chair.”

The teachers had the students form a line.

The first little girl in line was Maria. She just stood there. Tears ran down her cheeks. Impatient kids behind her in line, shouted “hurry up” and “keep moving.”

“Tell Santa what you would like for Christmas,” I say.

Maria just stares and cries.

“Okay Maria, why don’t you think about what you would like and I will ask you again later.”

The teachers removed her from the line and the bottleneck is cleared.

Next in line was Jimmy. After climbing on my lap, he said. “I want an X-box a computer game, a Frozen movie, a toy race car . . ..,”

I interrupt him. “Whoa Jimmy! Slow down! Santa has a new rule. Only one toy request per child.”

After Jimmy, my job becomes a repetitive assembly line process. A child sits on my lap. They tell me what toy they want. I say “Ho Ho Ho.” The parent snaps a picture.

The pace is broken when Enrique gets on my lap. I know he is a trouble maker. He finished 3rd place in the Curley Howard Look Alike Contest.

“You’re not Santa Claus. You’re Mr. Terry,” he spouts.

“Ho ho ho, that’s impossible, Mr. Terry does not have a long white beard, as I do.”

“No, you are Mr. Terry,” he said and he pull on my beard.

“Alright Enrique, Santa Claus puts you on probation. No Christmas gift for you until you are nice to people. I will be in communication with your mother.”

I nudge him off me lap.

When, the last child slides off my dog-tired lap, I stand up.

I say, “Merry Christmas to everyone! I will now return to the North Pole to get Christmas gifts ready.”

“Yaaay!” the kids shout.

As I walk away, Maria popped out of the crowd, ran over to me and hugged my leg. In a tiny voice, she said, “Please bring me a doll.”

I put one my knee on the floor and I looked her in the eye.

In my most sincere Santa voice, I said, “I’ll do my best. Merry Christmas.”

At the end of the day, I know that I was not the greatest Santa Claus in the world, but I put my heart into.

I did not do a great thing, but I did do a small thing with great love.