This will be my 85th Christmas. All of them have been spent with family. First, for 20 years, Mother and Dad presided. Then wife, Ruth Anne, has been my co-celebrant for the last 63 years. Then kids joined the party. For 60 years our four kids and their partners have been in grand display. Then 30 years ago grandkids crashed the Christmas festivities. Now their loves are close by as well. This year our chorus numbers 15 of differing generations and last names.
Our party has swelled.
So too has the number of sites of our celebrations. First was my ancestral home of Philadelphia, 15 years; next was Bala-Cynwyd, Pa. two years; then marriage and Bryn Mawr where we nested for three years before two years in the Army in Kawela Bay Hawaii; then residency training in New Orleans, one year; then three years in Mill Valley, Ca. before having our Weihnacht in Munchen, one year, 1963; then back home to Bryn Mawr, for nine years, then the Big Move to Palo Alto California in 1970; still here but have sprinkled in five Christmases, as this year, on beaches in Hawaii; this year Hanalei.
This recital of our moves is presented merely to prove the existence of Santa Claus.
The Sept. 21 1897 issue of The New York Sun newspaper contained an editorial entitled, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." It was created in response to a letter written by 8-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon, which lamented "Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus." The response said "as certainly as love, and generosity and devotion," "to make glad the hearts of children."
To bolster this certitude, I offer the magical gift that Santa has never lost sight of us despite our dispersed wanderings. He must have an incredible GPS. Wherever, whenever, regardless of the assembled family members Santa has never failed. Santa is a miracle.
I fully expect him in Hanalei on Christmas, to deliver his boisterous "Mele Kalikimaka." Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, wherever, whenever.