Santa Cruz Santa Claus


We squinted in the bright sunshine. The morning had been cold enough to warrant light jackets, but even with the sea breeze it was warming up nicely. I felt Olivia’s hand, warm and small in my own. Our first Christmas without Mommy.

Grandee had paid for the airline tickets to California, just the two of us. She knew better than to say anything about how two tickets were cheaper than three. To her credit, she’d scheduled plenty of Christmas activities. Between the Nutcracker in San Francisco, the Monterey Aquarium and the Festival of Harbor Lights, there’d be no idle time where Mommy would be missed. That was the plan, anyway.

“There he is!” said someone. Sure enough, the boat chugging across the harbor was spangled in green and red lights, tinsel and even a few pine trees. In the middle stood a beach town version of Santa Claus. He wore the red coat and hat, but with a pair of surfer shorts instead of pants, flip-flops replacing the boots.

I felt Olivia pull my hand. She looked up at me, her face indignant as she pointed at the approaching boat.

“See, Daddy? He’s not a myth!”


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