Tahoe youngsters bend Santa’s ear
December 7, 2003
Santa Claus made a rare appearance at Barton Memorial Hospital on Sunday, more than two weeks before he makes his rounds across the globe.
A line of eager children formed behind the jolly soul to confirm lists, have pictures taken and listen to Christmas carolers who turned out for the grand event.
Michael Reyes didn’t have to go far to meet with Santa. The South Lake Tahoe youngster was admitted to the hospital recently with a sinus infection.
His sister, Cynthia, said the best Christmas present she could get would be her brother coming home. Michael, whose mother expects him to be released in two days, brought her wheelchair-bound son to sit with Santa.
With a tender look, Santa knelt next to him. Cynthia flashed a big grin. She wasn’t the only one smiling with gratitude.
Jerilyn Boni brought her grandchildren Ethan, 7, and Kimberly, 4, to meet Santa. After two open-heart surgeries for the boy, she sighed at the thought of Ethan enduring the close calls at ages 2 and 5.
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Health conditions have evidently not slowed down the redhead with a smile that would light the night like Rudolph. He asked for a Hulk punching bag.
“He said to write a note,” he blurted after Santa told him what to do.
His sister wanted to cultivate her art technique, politely requesting a paint brush set.
“She just drew me a picture today,” Grandma said.
Santa brings out the dominant features of children’s personalities.
Weston Swift, a spitting image of the “Christmas Story” character who only wanted a BB gun from Santa, stood toe-to-toe with the white-bearded man to make it clear he would like a rescue-hero robot. The 3-year-old boy couldn’t explain what that meant, but he was certain Santa could deliver it.
His brother, Grant, placed his index finger at his chin and looked up to ponder how Santa manages to be so many places at one time on Christmas Eve.
“I have no idea,” he said.
Ethan took a stab at it.
“He’s probably fast,” he said, referring to his reindeer-powered sleigh.
Santa refrained from divulging his secret.
“It’s the magic of Christmas,” he said.
The mystique of Santa has captured the world for centuries. In 1773, author Washington Irving introduced Americans to the Dutch saint. But it was the poem “A Visit From Saint Nicholas” – commonly known as “The Night Before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Moore – that gave the wink-and-the-nod account of his gift-giving with eight reindeer and a penchant for maneuvering in chimneys.
Through the years, Santa’s story has evolved with the technology of the Internet – with the full history appearing on http://www.the-north-pole.com.