It was a hot, July afternoon in San Francisco, California. I entered the laundromat with my arms full. I had about a weeks worth of dirty clothes to wash. As I laid my basket down, I noticed a very chunky man standing in the middle of the laundry mat, in long red underwear. Since this was California, I didn’t think too much about it. One never knew what to expect living in California.
I loaded my clothes into the washing machine, added the proper amount of laundry detergent, popped the required number of quarters into the machine, closed the lid and went and sat down in one of the chairs. While I was waiting for the machine to complete its cycle, I found myself staring again at the man in the long red underwear. I know that it wasn’t a polite thing to do, but I just couldn’t help it. He looked so familiar. He had long snowy white hair and a long white beard. I knew him from somewhere, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it.
“Ho! Ho! Ho!” the man laughed, for no apparent reason at all.
“Now I know him!” I cried to myself. “I’ve got it! He must be a movie star! Sure, that’s it! That’s where I’ve seen him before. After all, this is California!”
Now, I had an even bigger problem than before. I had to figure out which movie I had seen him in. It was driving me crazy. How was I going to find that out? Well, I guess the only thing that I could do, would be to simply ask him.
Then, I remembered something that my dear sweet Mother had told me before I had left home. She had warned me never to talk to strangers, especially strangers in a place like a laundromat in California. However, it was hard to consider this man as a stranger to anyone. He was just too friendly and too jolly.
“Excuse me,” I finally found the courage to say. “I know that I have seen you before but I don’t know which movie it was that I’ve seen you in. Perhaps if you told me your name it would help me to remember.”
“The name’s S. Claus,” the man said.
“Hmm,” I said. “I don’t recall any actors by the name of S. Claus.”
“Well,” the man said. “I starred in several television specials. One of them was ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’.”
“Wait a minute,” I said. “The only actor that starred in that show was Santa Claus!”
Right at that very instant, I heard a buzz from one of the dryers that the man was sitting beside. It had finished its cycle. The man went over to it, opened the door and pulled out a huge red velvet suit.
“Oh my!” I exclaimed. “You are Santa Claus! But, what are you doing in a laundromat in San Francisco, California, in the middle of summer. You’re a long way from home!”
“Yes,” said Santa. “I sure am. Actually, the reason that I’m here is that I’m doing a soft drink commercial. Someone in the studio spilled a whole can of pop all over my suit and I had to get it cleaned.”
“I can’t believe that I’m actually talking with Santa Claus!” I exclaimed excitedly. “This is so unreal!”
“Believe me,” Santa said. “I’m the real thing!”
Santa put his red suit on and did up his big black belt.
“Looks like I’ve got to fatten up a bit before Christmas comes,” Santa laughed when he saw that his suit was getting too loose for him. “Well, goodbye now! Ho! Ho! Ho!”
Santa was on his way out the door.
“Hey Santa!” I called after him. “I’d really like a new computer for Christmas.”
“And have you been a good girl, Lisa?” asked Santa.
“Hey, how did you know my name?” I asked in surprise.
“I told you, I’m the real Santa,” he said. “You didn’t answer my question. Have you been a good girl this year?”
“Well,” I mumbled, hoping that Santa didn’t know about the time that I was responsible for knocking that old woman down. “I was almost a good girl.”
“Did you ever apologize to that old woman that you knocked down?” asked Santa.
“Well,” I said, suddenly regretting asking for that new computer. “I forgot. Besides, it wasn’t completely my fault. She wasn’t watching where she was going.”
“And you were?” he asked.
“Well, maybe not,” I blushed.
“And, what about the time you stepped on that poor little kittens tail?” asked Santa.
“How did you know about that?” I asked.
Santa didn’t answer me. With a blink of his eye and a twinkle of his nose, he was gone. I looked out the window of the laundromat and saw him get into his sleigh, which was being pulled by eight reindeer. I sat back down in my chair, in amazement.
“Wow!” I said aloud. “That Santa Claus really does know everything. I’d forgotten all about that poor little kittens tail! I guess I’d better apologize to that old lady and make sure that the kitten’s tail is alright if I ever want to get a new computer.”