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There is a Santa Claus!!

I know because I have seen Santa not once, but twice, waving along Rt. 60.  I even embarrassed Barbie, Jr. by honking at him and shouting HI SANTA out the window.

This year Barbie, Jr. is at that age where she's skeptical.  I came across a pretty neat website where you can make a personalized video and send it to your child.  The look in her eyes as she watched it was priceless.  Even better was after the video was over she says to me, "MOM! I think Santa's been creeping on me on Facebook!"  But it took me back to when I was her age.

My grandfather, Dr. Harold E. Ward, was a professor at Marshall University. When he began at Marshall, it was still known as Marshall College.  He was probably one of the smartest people I ever known.  I was only fifteen when he passed and I wish I had been able to learn more from him.

As I was growing up, I recall many times that he would take my cousins and I to his annual Christmas party at school.  And every year, Santa would be there.  I would see him and tell him what I wanted.  As I mentioned, I was probably around my daughter's age when I became skeptical.  I questioned everything about Santa, and my grandfather was hell bent on making me continue to believe.  So as usual, we got dressed up and attended the Christmas party.  This particular year I recall my grandfather asking me to hand deliver a special gift to Santa.  I did as asked and I believe Santa gave me a gift in return.  I don't remember the details but there was something about that visit that made me realize, he indeed was really Santa Claus.

Even after I quit believing, I continued to attend the parties.  The last one I remember attending I believe was the last Christmas my grandfather was with us.  He had retired by then and was teaching at the southern branch of Ohio University at that time.  Imagine my surprise when Santa Claus was there as well.  There was still something about him that made my heart happy.

It was September 1991, when we lost my grandfather and about 6 years later, while having a discussion with my mom that I realized finally who Santa had been. Santa had been my grandfather's dear friend Dr. Sam Clagg. I recall he would usually come visit with us at these parties, or sit at our table, and managed to slip off unnoticed.

I have thought about that story many times through the years.  I've seen Mr. Clagg out a few times as the years have passed and have wanted to shout SANTA!  Although, he would have no clue who I was.  But for now, wherever he is, I'd like to thank him for renewing a little girl's faith in the Christmas spirit and for giving the woman she's grown up to be such lovely childhood Christmas memories.  And to my papaw, who I know is looking down on me every day, I love you and I miss you.


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