Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash


By Charles Towne                        

Oh, how time does fly! It was quite a few years ago that I slipped, slid, and was dragged, bleeding and bruised through the somewhat interesting beginning of my life as a zoo director, lion tamer, destroyer of beaver dams with dynamite, handler of anything and everything that would bite, poison, chew, gnaw, rip, tear, fold, spindle and mutilate, and otherwise make life interesting for Mrs. Towne’s little boy.

And then one day I found myself in Florida.

Two or three years later some deluded soul asked me to play Santa Claus for the children’s ward at Florida Hospital. Hmm, what in the world would possibly give anybody the idea that I would make a good Saint Nick? That night I stood and postured before the bathroom mirror. I was shocked! I weighed over 220 pounds at the time, had a full white beard, a head-full of white hair, and a gut that would have given Tim Allen’s character a run for his money in the movie, The Santa Clause.

They say that mirrors never lie, HA!  So, I played Santa Claus that year, and the next, and the next. I don’t like the word fat. Rotund, or corpulent? Maybe. Pleasingly plump?  Perhaps. But surely not fat! And all the while that darned, lying bathroom mirror was screaming, GROSSLY FAT!  I didn’t feel like Santa when I looked in the mirror; nope, more like the Grinch!

It was Christmas Eve, and I was on my way home after entertaining the kids at Florida Hospital when I decided to have some fun. I drove through an upscale neighborhood and saw what I was looking for – a garishly decorated house with about fifty cars lining the street in front.

I parked, hopped out, and like the spry little elf I am, I skipped up the sidewalk to the front door, threw open the door without knocking, and with a “HO, HO, HO!” burst into the revelry. I took Christmas wishes from the kids on my lap, kissed all the ladies, shook hands with the gents, ho, ho, ho’ing all the while. I had a glass of eggnog, and then, with an exuberant, “MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!”  I escaped, but not before a gent I took to be the man of the house followed me out, and with a happy laugh, he pressed a one-hundred dollar bill into my hand and said, “Mr. you are the best Santa I have ever seen! I don’t know where my wife found you, but you are terrific!” I tried to refuse the money, honestly, but he insisted I take it.

I was almost home when I began wondering about how the next Santa, the one his wife hired, was going to be received?

I am probably the only Santa that ever crashed a Christmas party and got paid for it. I don’t do things like that anymore for a couple of reasons, one because my conscience wouldn’t let me get away with it, and today, I wouldn’t pass for Santa anyway, what with having lost thirty-five pounds and shaving my head, everyone would know I was an imposter.

My gift to you all is a smile, and perhaps a laugh, and a joyful start to a Merry Christmas season!

Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.


  1. Well, that was a big bowl of laughs!! It took a LOT of nerve
    to just waltz into….who knows what…and take over, like you’re suppose to be there. I’m sure you laughed all the way home wondering what happened when the real hired Santa showed up.
    Poor guy!! I wonder if he got paid also, or thrown out as an imposter. Lolol. I bet that party has been remembered as being the most fun, as well as, the most puzzling by guests and the husband and wife hosts!! Anyhow, I surely enjoyed it, even if it was just through your story!!
    God bless you, Chuck!

  2. Oh Faithy, my sweet dotter, may you have years of joy to dance and ho, ho, ho with an abundance of joy. I love you muchhly, Daddy Ho Ho!

  3. I’ve been waiting for something to get me in the Christmas spirit and you have answered the call. Short comment today as I have a house waiting to be garishly decorated with about 18,000 lights…

  4. Mr Mike Mike, bringing laughter and joy to all you folks in these troublesome times by way of my memories gives me such a happy feeling! It is incredible how after all these years memories can have such a positive impact on so many is incredible. May Papa God bless you all is my prayer, Chaz

  5. This reminds us of when we crashed an outdoor wedding . We were in a park and saw a wedding couple, my wife insisted that we go home, get dressed and watch the wedding, I was reluctant at first but gave in. The wedding was beautiful, so beautiful that we got in the reception line only to congratulate the couple and wish God’s Blessings on them. Then the flow of the reception line lead into the area where they had tables and Food. So, we sat down and enjoyed a great meal. Later we told the mother of the bride , that we were strangers. She said” well the Lord said, bid them come from the highways and the byways.” Thanks for sharing your story Charles’s. ….J & M

  6. Jimmie and Mignon, isn’t God GOOD! The only thing I can say it is a good thing that you have learned to OBEY your dear wife! That is a good lesson for all of us to learn isn’t it… OBEY YOUR WIFE, AFTER ALL; PAPA GOD KNEW YOU NEEDED HER!!! Love you both. Charles

  7. Well Chaz, at last a cogent primer on how to celebrate the Christmas holiday season! 1) Enter a house uninvited, but not in an area where this is considered unlawful entry! 2) Interact with all the children, setting them up for bitter disappointment when all the wishes they personally told Santa do not come true on Christmas morning! 3) Fraudulently extort money from the homeowner! This I think might be of interest to the local bunco squad! 4) Enthusiastically kissing all the ladies present, a possibly unwanted and forcible invasion of personal space 5) making an escape with a gleeful chortle and a merry ho, ho, ho into the holiday night! Ah, the memories of a well spent youth!
    The nerdiest of holidays to you, you old reprobate!

  8. Richard, Did you call me an OLD reprobate? Really? For your information sir I was not old at the time of my sordid tale, consequently I take umbrage at your comment. And by the way, what is an umbrage? Blessings on you my friend, Chaz

  9. Charles, I believe an umbrage is used to keep the rain away in the northern mountain wilderness of southern Illinois!
    Merry Christmas to you my friend!

  10. Oh, and if you can tell about what happened to you in 1946 when you were 14, are we to believe that a young reprobate some 74 years before is not now a much less young reprobate? I also notice you only had a problem with the designation of age and not the one of character!!!

  11. Richard, the astuteness you display is startling in its intentness and its remarkableness of deplorable intensity that one such as yourselfness could only hope to be surpassed by Mama whoniess. Me

  12. What this proves is that you are a natural born actor. Yup Hollywood missed out – you’re a natural. But I always knew that, and anyone who know you will agree.


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