Last year a few weeks before Christmas, my friend Linda agreed to take her five-year-old daughter Suzie to see the Santa at the mall. Linda was notorious for being late and having the worst memory so all week Suzie kept reminding her of her promise. She had written and re-written her list at least a dozen times. She brought up the topic at every opportunity and even picked out her outfit from the week before to be sure to find the perfect one.
Finally, the day arrived and she was up well before dawn and knocking at her parents’ door but they were still recovering from a party the prior night. “I want to be early,” she said. “I don’t want him to leave before I can get to see him,” she continued. No matter how much they tried to reassure her she was adamant about being there on time.
Later that day, not quite soon enough for Suzie, they all piled into the car and headed for the mall. They reached the crowded parking lot and circled for over an hour trying to find a spot. All that time, Suzie was virtually climbing out the window and almost reduced to tears thinking she would miss her chance to see Santa. Her list was rather long and she wanted ample time for him to hear her out.
As soon as they found a space, they dashed through the parking lot and raced into the building. Suzie was breathless as she hurried to join the line. Santa’s village was pretty busy but Santa was nowhere in sight. At first she thought she had missed him and was just about to cry when she saw him coming out of a side door and making his way to his seat. Patiently she waited her turn and when she got up to him she looked at him knowingly and asked, “Christmas punch made you late too?”