Close to Nowhere
Last week I told you there really was a Santa Claus. This week, I’d like to introduce you to XXX, who fills in for Santa when the opportunity arises.
The following are bits and dabs of emails I’ve received from XXX. They have been edited to preserve anonymity and for space.
“I think I have read just about every column you have ever written. When Thursday’s South Reporter comes, I always read your column, then back to the front page to read the major articles.
“I have been doing `random acts of kindness’ for as long as I can remember.
“While serving in Italy, I visited 13 countries and I took hundreds of photos. I was even accidentally blessed by the Pope!
“Each Pope has a church in Rome that is his home church. One Sunday I was sitting on the end of a back pew at his church, waiting for the mass to end so I could photograph the altar and the many images in the `Peter and Paul, outside the walls’ church. As the Pope passed by, he stopped next to me and made the sign of the cross and said: `Bless you my child.’ (I was raised Baptist, but now I attend either a Methodist or some other church.)
“I have also been to St. Peter’s Square and seen the Pope deliver his blessing to the crowds of thousands.
“I have always believed `do unto others.’ As I am now retired and have an income that allows me to do more, my deeds are a little larger.
“Linda, you are among the people that mean a lot to me. My spouse and I live in a nice, three bedroom brick home with several dogs and raise an endangered species of horses.
“As you have probably guessed by now, I am a student of history. I hope I have not bored you, but I thought you might like to know some of the things I have seen and done. Stay safe and try to stay healthy so you can enjoy your loving family and friends – you are probably not even aware of how many there are.
“You asked me about some of the things I had done. Two incidents come to mind.
“In the days before cell phones and texts, I was in the Charleston, S.C. Airport waiting for my mother to pick me up. I noticed a very distraught young lady at the ticket counter. She was changing planes to Atlanta. She had left her purse on the plane and it was taking off. Her ticket and wallet were on it and she had no way to continue on her way. I stepped up to the counter and told the agent to give her a ticket and put it on my credit card. When I got my next credit card statement, there was a credit posted two days after I had bought her ticket.
“The other is one that happened just after I started to work at FedEx. I got off at 2 a.m. And was on my way home. There was a couple on the side of the road hitchhiking. I stopped to see where they were going and noticed she was holding a small baby in a blanket. I had them get in the car to get warm. He said he had a job waiting for him in Virginia. I took them to a motel, checked them in and gave him $20 for food, along with my card that had my phone number and home address on it.
“I never heard from them again.
“The moral of these stories is: If you are able to help someone, do it because it needs to be done. Do not expect anything in return.”
And that, my dear friends, is a little insight into someone who masquerades as Santa Claus. We all, hopefully, can spread a little of this philosophy around. It would make our community and world a better place.
Linda Jones of Laws Hill is a former staff writer for The South Reporter. She is retired but continues her weekly column.