The year Santa made the Naughty List

By Staff
Scot Beard
TThere are many great memories I associate with Christmas.
I remember the joy of opening much-wanted gifts on Christmas morning and the happiness of visiting with family who I only got to see once or twice a year.
Helping my grandmother make fudge is probably one of my favorite memories, and I have carried on the tradition in the years since her death.
The funniest memory, however, came during the first Christmas after my wife, Erin, and I got married.
It was the year my wife tried to have Santa arrested.
We were living in a rental house in Florence and as we were getting ready to go somewhere, we noticed a guy walking down the street in a Santa costume. It was a couple of days before Christmas, so we did not think it was too unusual.
The guy walked past our house as he continued up the street. He then turned right and walked between two houses and went into the alley before turning left and continuing in his original direction.
My wife thought this was odd – in fairness, he was stumbling a little as he was walking and it was about 3 p.m. – so she asked me to see if he was still in the alley. He was not.
I walked back to the road and he was not there either, so I walked down the block to see if he was between any houses. My hunt for Santa failed.
She decided to call the police. I told her she was getting coal in her stocking.
Her argument was that he was suspicious looking and he should not have been stumbling, nor should he have been walking between the houses. She was concerned he was going to rob somebody.
Her logic was sound – that end of the street was not exactly the best neighborhood – so I sat on the porch with her while we waited for the police.
As the cops pulled up to our house, some kids rode by on their bicycles. The police officer asked if they had seen Santa Claus. The kids looked at him like he was an idiot.
"Uh, it's not Christmas yet," one of the children said. "He won't be here for a few more days."
My wife walked out the car and leaned down to the window so she could speak with the officer. It was a cop she knew.
Thoroughly embarrassed because she thought the cop would think she was crazy, Erin told her story.
He laughed but understood the situation and decided to take a look. He found the same thing I had – a nonexistent Santa – and left.
Every year since Erin and I have a good chuckle about the time she called the police on Santa Claus.
It is sad things have changed so much that we felt the need to make that call in the first place.
Unfortunately the world is much different now than it was when I was a child – Santa was the guy bringing presents, not taking them away.
So if you wake up Christmas morning and your stocking is empty, one of three things happened.
You were either on the naughty list, Santa robbed you or Erin succeeded in having him thrown in the slammer.