A while back, I cancelled my subscription to an entertainment magazine I used to love (until they slid downhill fast). For some reason, they keep sending me issues each week.
I’ve donated a few to friends, doctor’s waiting rooms and a nearby seniors’ home.
Gathering another batch today, I headed back to the seniors’ home, this time to their long-term care wing.
It can be a sad place at times, so I was impressed at how extensively they’d decorated for the holidays to lift everyone’s spirits. Inflatable carolers bobbed in the wind over the entrance, lights sparkled on the evergreen trees on the lawn, and a big twinkly polar bear greeted guests at the front door.
It was nice to see so many visitors coming and going, too. As I approached, I noticed three or four residents sitting outside in the sub-zero cold to have a smoke. I smiled hello at a man in a wheelchair who looked like Karl Malden – in pajamas and a parka.
As I rushed through the front door to escape the cold, a six-foot Santa Claus figure came to life bellowing “Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!” in a deep baritone.
I almost dropped all my magazines.
It was a life-size Santa activated by a motion sensor. Every time someone walked past, it lit up, started moving its arms, nodding its head and Ho! Ho! Ho!-ing.
Geez, I thought, maybe not the smartest choice in a building full of cardiac-care patients.
Anyway, I composed myself, walked up to the reception desk and asked the attendant about dropping off the magazines in the lounge. She thanked me warmly and directed me to go right in.
On the way out, I scooted in front of an elderly couple – not to cut them off, mind you, but to kick-start Santa in advance so he wouldn’t scare the living daylights out of them.
Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
P.S. Another carol for the season from Ella Fitzgerald. Enjoy!