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Little-Known Santa No. 27
Boy, we’ve seen so many major and minor episodes of The Yulefather’s life, played out before us on the big screen, in vivid technicolor and dolby sound, reinforced by the smell of melted popcorn butter, that it seems as though we each and every one of us know him personally.
Tell me, which was your favorite? Was it The Yulefather, Part I, with that tense evening scene in the ice cream parlor, when the daring young war-hero elf stepped out of the backroom cooler with only a surreptitiously concealed sugar cone in his hand? Didn’t you know right then that some kids who had been bad all year long were going to end up sprawled across their café chairs, with caramel syrup all over their shirtfronts, while the lone soda jerk hunched cowering behind the tiled counter?
Or, was it The Yulefather, Part II, when the handsome, maturing and increasingly successful Little-Known Santa #27 eventually returned to his boyhood Arctic home? (actually, just the location of what he estimated to be his boyhood home, since everything in the Arctic is atop drifting sea ice that will creak and split and shift hundreds of miles annually with the changing current and climate) As he confronted the aging sled-ridden and hard-of-hearing walrus hunter flanked by his harpoon-wielding flunkies, it was obvious he was bent on revenge for wrongs long past, even before he revealed his true boyhood name to his victim in a raspy whisper of native Inuit.
But I could go on and on, replaying cherished scene after cherished scene from this movie or that, from the book that spawned the films, or from any of the other items of popular cultural folklore that have since risen around The Yulefather. The omnipresent violin cases that actually concealed caroler’s trumpets. The lavish wedding parties with hundreds of gaily-garbed elves dancing the tarantella. The Yulefather’s plush limo-sleigh with the blacked-out windows.
Entire vivid scenes can be recalled by just a phrase or two: ‘He sleeps with the narwhal.’ Or, ‘Leave the whipped cream, grab the maraschinos.’ Or, ‘Rudolph, I know it was you.’ Or, ‘I’ll wrap him a present he can’t refuse.’
For The Yulefather is an enduring icon of our society, a god-like figure: the ultimate enforcer who occasionally (in fact, once each Christmas) showers gifts on each of us. Paternalistic and stern — some might say ruthless — he’s also been known to keep ledgers of the names of kids both naughty and nice, and yet to occasionally pop orange rind into his mouth in place of teeth and run through a tomato garden playing the boogie man.
So let’s all remember to fondly remember Little-Known Santa #27 this Christmas. Forget that platter of oatmeal raison cookies and mug of hot cocoa with marshmallows! The Yulefather would much prefer a cannoli, or perhaps some almond biscotti, along with a dram or two of your best anisette. And, most importantly of all, if you should happen to receive one of The Yulefather’s gifts this holiday season, never forget your debt to him, if you know what’s good for you!
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