Laughing Santa!

Cold December air has invaded Carbondale, Illinois. It is less than two weeks until Christmas. The Christmas ornaments have returned, in part, to Campus Woods…and vaccinations for Covid-19 are on their way across the United States! I watched hard working and diligent staff package the Pfizer vaccine vials in dry ice with a temperature gauge to ensure that the vaccine is kept at its required extremely cold temperatures…and then the loading of the pallets on to the trucks…and the the starting of the semis massive engines and their departure from the loading dock… People cheered and clapped and tears came to their eyes as the first glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel of our 2020 pandemic…was happening before our eyes!

Life is not a battle of who has the better argument…or the most loud vocalization of their particular point of view. All success is incremental and it requires the hard painstaking work of every one of us to succeed! The health of our nation and our world is not commensurate upon celebrities and charismatic icons…it is about the detailed minutiae of work and labor and dedication to a larger principe than the individual.

Laughing Santa was my buddy in Chicago. I remember his plastic jovial face and his little red suit and his cap, that was affixed to his head, and the crank that protruded out of his back…that when I turned it the most uproarious laughter issued forth from my pal! As a child between 1 and 5 years old…he was Christmas to me! He only came out during the holiday season…and he always flashed me a wise and knowing look that said that he understood all of my childhood wants and needs and that he was present just for me! My mom made a big deal out of Laughing Santa. He was made by the Gund company and she had purchased him for me on Michigan Avenue. I swear that for his day and time…he was the epitome of Christmas toy technology! My neighbor and friend, Steve, had several marionettes. Steve and his sister, Susie, often brought the marionettes over to my house and conducted puppet shows for mom and me. Their expertise in the maneuvering of the puppets transported me to another world! As I sat and watched the antics of Punch and Judy and their cohorts I released that the world was as wide open and exciting as I was willing to expose myself too! During the holiday marionettes shows…Laughing Santa would join me in my emersion into the universe of puppetry. I loved marionettes so much that I requested one for Christmas…and received it!

Marionettes are a fact of life for each of us…if we are not careful… There are always people who want to pull our strings and have us become a part of their puppet show. The question is as to whether we will submit to the will of another who does not have our best interest at heart…or will we choose to think for ourselves and and be the operator of the strings and the master of our own puppet show?

Santa’s laughter planted in me a happy feeling of peace and love for Christmastide. Christmas is a reset button for our lives! It is a time of pause…and consideration…and recognition that we do not have to continue in a sad and forlorn state of existence. We can change…for the better! We can transform to a second father for ‘Tiny Tim’ and make the season of goodwill last all year long!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

There was a massive Christmas Tree in Chicago…with mom and dad and I sitting under it. There was marionettes for Christmas and holiday music playing on the stereo, that covered one wall of our living room, and a special candy that I can not totally remember…but the sweet smell of it…says Christmas to me…60 years later…and…Santa laughed!

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on

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