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Holabird Advocate

Providing all the news we see fit to print since 2002!

Friday, December 22, 2006

VOL. V Issue 12Q
Merry Christmas From the Holabird Advocate
Because of Family obligations and so forth, all of us here at the Holabird Advocate will be taking a little vacation. We'll be back on Tuesday after we get all the toys broke and wrapping paper picked up.
It has been suggested that we do a tribute to Doug Lund before he goes golfing full time. We will do that if we can find something unique and original to say. Those who are respectful can leave their own comments on that day. Be sure to watch Keloland tonight at 6:30 pm Holabird Time for their tribute to Mr. Lund. That's what we'll be doing!
And so, on with Christmas! We'll see you next Tuesday, God willing!
The Straight Dope On Santa
by Cecil Adams of The Straight Dope
Dear Cecil,
Over one hundred years ago, on September 21, 1897, a little girl with great doubts asked the editor of the New York Sun for the answer to a question that had been bothering her. There was no Straight Dope then, so she had to settle. The Sun came up with an answer, a good answer, the correct answer. But folks have forgotten it, or no longer believe it. The man who answered her question was just a staff writer who got the assignment from his boss. He wasn't the World's Smartest Human, like you are. He didn't command the respect that you do. So, I hope you won't mind settling this question once and for all, for all the little Annies, Ryans, Joshes, Megans, and Tammys in the world. If I may paraphrase:
Dear Cecil: I am 47 years old. Some of my friends on the Straight Dope Message Board say there is no Santa Claus. JKFabian says, "If you see it in the Straight Dope it's so." Please tell me the truth. Is there a Santa Claus? --Ranger Jeff, The Idol of American Youth
Dear Jeff:
Let's just say his existence can't be definitely ruled out.
I'm not saying there aren't improbable aspects to the story. You have x number of kids (even leaving out the Muslims, Shintoists, Hindus, animists, etc., who one presumes get shafted, gift wise), you have y time per visit, you have z average distance between domiciles, you have an earth of known diameter, and you have 24 hours in the day. It doesn't add up. You have the problem of access to the gift-giving venue in the absence of chimneys with fireplaces, unless we're assuming that Santa Claus oozes through the keyholes in the manner of the critter in The Abyss, which is not a pretty picture. You have the problem of what in all likelihood is the earth's single largest concentration of toy manufacturing facilities in a polar region remote from resources of every type (cold excepted), that's so carefully camouflaged as to be invisible to satellite surveillance, and that produces no detectable emissions. Although now that one thinks about it, there's that ozone hole over the south pole. Hmm.
On the other hand, consider the following:
A great many seemingly improbable events do in fact occur. Florida winning the World Series. Cleveland winning the World Series. [Inevitable 2004 update: Boston.] Compared to this, what is the accurate delivery of zillions of packages in the course of a single night?
Besides, Fed Ex does it. So what if we're talking Memphis and drivers in baseball caps rather than the north pole and elves? It's the principle of the thing.
OK, so there's a certain amount of mortal participation involved. Perhaps, as a parent, you've personally done your bit to help Santa and thought you did so of your own accord. The ants in the anthill probably think they're doing it on a whim, too. But looking at the matter objectively, we can't deny that a larger purpose is at work and that we are in the service of an agency greater than ourselves.
You mean the IRS.
I mean the impulse to be generous. Three hundred sixty-four days out of the year humankind commits all manner of heinous acts. On the 365th day we give toys to the kids. I'm not saying that the latter compensates for the former. I'm not saying Adolph Hitler wouldn't have given presents to his children, if he'd had children. But come on, it's got to count for something. The giving of gifts in such a way that no credit will devolve upon ourselves is sufficiently at odds with our routine behavior as to be accounted a mystery, and we may as well give that mystery a name. Santa Claus it is.
Besides, to believe in Santa Claus is to believe in magic. The belief in magic in many respects is a pernicious thing. Because of it you've got countless multitudes thinking that aliens abduct people, that Elvis is alive, that you can earn big money stuffing envelopes in your home, and that the TV preacher can cure you if you send him 50 bucks. A certain class of persons, of whom your columnist is one, will go through their lives attempting to extinguish these foolish hopes. No doubt in the main it is good that we do so. But even the sternest among us remembers the wonder we felt as children to think there was a force having a kindly interest in us that wasn't bound by the rules of this drab world. Wherefore if there's someone who's going to say flat out that Santa Claus doesn't exist, it's not going to be me.
Poetry Corner
"Annie and Willie's Prayer"
by Sophia P. Snow
Twas the eve before Christmas, good night had been said,
And Annie and Willie had crept into bed:
There were tears on their pillows, and tears in their eyes,
And each little bosom was heaving with sighs,
For tonight their stern father's command had been given
That they should retire precisely at seven
Instead of at eight--for the troubled him more
With questions unheard of than ever before:
He had told them he thought this delusion a sin,
No such creature as "Santa Claus", ever had been
And he hoped, after this, he would never more hear
How he scrambled down chimneys with presents each year.
And this was the reason that two little heads so restlessly tossed on their soft, downy beds. Eight, nine and the clock on the steeple tolled ten,
Not a word had been spoken by either till then.
When Willie's sad face from the blanket did peep,
And whispered, "Dear Annie, is you fast asleep?"
Why no, brother Willie," a sweet voice replies,
"I've long tried in vain, but I can't shut my eyes,
For somehow it makes me so sorry because
Dear Papa has said that there is no "Santa Claus."
"Now we know that there is, and it can't be denied,
For he came every year before Mama died:
But, then, I've been thinking that she used to pray,
And God would hear everything Mama would say,
And maybe she asked him to send Santa Claus here
With that sackful of presents he brought every year."
"Well,why can't we pray just as Mama did then,
And ask God to send him with presents again?"
"I've been thinking so to," and without a word more
Four little bare feet bounded out on the floor,
And four little knees the soft carpet pressed,
And two tiny hands were clasped close to each breast.
"Now, Willie, you know we must firmly believe
That the presents we ask for we're sure to receive:
You must wait very still till I say the 'Amen,'
And by that you will know that your turn has come then."
"Dear Jesus, look down on my brother and me,
And grant us the favor we are asking of thee.
I want a wax dolly, a tea set, and ring,
And an ebony work box that shuts with a spring.
Bless Papa, dear Jesus, and cause him to see
That Santa Claus loves us as much as does he,
Don't let him get fretful and angry again
At dear brother Willie and Annie, Amen"
"Please Jesus, let Santa Claus come down tonight,
and bring us some presents before it is light,
I want he should div' me a nice little sled,
With bright shinin' runners, and all painted red;
A box full of candy, a book and a toy,
and then, dear Jesus, I'll be a good boy.
Eight, nine and the little French clock had struck ten,
Ere the father had thought of his children again.
He seems now to hear Annie's half suppressed sighs,
And to see the big tears stand in Willie's blue eyes.
"I was harsh with my darlings," he mentally said,
"And should not have sent them so early to bed,
But then I was troubled, my feelings found vent,
For bank stock today has gone down ten percent.
But of course they've forgotten their troubles ere this,
And that I denied then the trice asked for kiss,
But, just to make sure, I'll go up to their door,
For I never spoke harshly to my darlings before."
So saying, he softly ascended the stairs,
And arrived at the door to hear both of their prayers.
His Annie's "Bless Papa" drew forth the big tears,
And Willie's grave promise fell sweet on his ears.
"Strange-strange-I'd forgotten," said he with a sigh,
"How I longed when a child, to have Christmas draw nigh."
"I'll atone for my harshness" he inwardly said,
"By answering their prayers ere I sleep in my bed."
Then he turned to the stairs and softly went down,
Threw off velvet slippers and silk dressing gown,
Donned hat, coat and boots, and was out in the street,
A millionaire facing the cold, driving sleet!
Nor stopped he until he bought everything
From the box full of candy to the tiny gold ring.
Indeed, he kept adding so much to his store,
That the various presents outnumbered a score.
Then homeward he turned, with his holiday load,
With Aunt Mary's help, in the nursery was stowed.
Miss Dolly was seated beneath a pine tree,
By the side of a table spread out for her tea.
A work box well fitted in the center was laid,
And on it the ring for which Annie had prayed.
A soldier in uniform stood by a sled
"With bright shinning runners and all painted red."
There were balls, dogs, and horses books pleasing to see,
And birds of all colors were perched in the tree!
While Santa Claus, laughing, stood at the top,
as if getting ready more presents to drop.
As as the fond father the picture surveyed,
He thought for his trouble he had amply been paid,
And he said to himself, as he brushed off a tear,
"I'm happier tonight than I've been in a year.
I've enjoyed more pure pleasure than ever before,
What care I if bank stocks fall ten per cent more.
Hereafter, I'll make it a rule, I believe
To have Santa Claus visit us each Christmas Eve."
So thinking, he gently extinguished the light,
And tripping down stairs, retired for the night.
As soon as the beams of the bright morning sun
Put the darkness to flight, and the stars one by one,
Four little blue eyes out of sleep opened wide,
And at the same moment the presents espied,
They out of their bed they sprang with a bound,
And the very gifts prayed for were all of them found.
They laughed and they cried, in their innocent glee,
And shouted for Papa to come quick and see
What presents Old Santa Claus brought in the night
Just the things that they wanted and left before light.
"And now," added Annie, in a voice soft and low,
"You'll believe there's a 'Santa Claus', Papa I know."
While dear little Willie climbed up on his knee.
Determined no secret between them should be,
And told him soft whispers how Annie had said
That their dear, blessed Mama, so long ago dead,
Used to kneel down by the side of her chair,
And that God up in heaven had answered her prayers.
"Then we dot up and prayed dust well as we could,
And God answered our prayers,now wasn't he good?"
"I should say the he was, if he sent you all these,
And knew just what presents my children would please.
(Well, well, let him think so, the dear little elf,
it would be cruel to tell him I did it myself.")
South Dakota Songbook
"Peace on Earth....A Christmas Wish"
by Bing Crosby and David Bowie
Peace on Earth
Can it be?
Years from now
Perhaps we'll see.
See the day of Glory
See the day when men of Good
Will Live in Peace
Live in Peace again.
Peace on Earth
Can it be?
Every child must be made aware
Every child must be made to care
Care enough for his fellow man
To give all the love that he can.
I pray my wish will come true
For my child and your child too
He'll see the day of Glory
He'll see the day when men of good will
Live in Peace again.
Peace on Earth
Can it Be?
Can it Be?

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