Wednesday, December 8, 2010

First Picture with Santa

December 3, 2010 - Took Melanie, Dave and Kiley to Alton with us for dinner out and some much needed advise on a couple Christmas gifts for Mel and Dave. After we had dinner, we headed to the Alton Mall. They used to have a couple of book stores in this Mall. My how the years have been unkind to this Mall, it is a skeleton Mall now, just a few stores remain open, and of course the giant Macy's and JC Penny and Sears still hold their own in this down economy. But gone are the library and book stores which used to be a frequent draw of mine. Gone is the pet store, shoe store, bakery's with all the goodies inviting us to sit a while, even just to have a drink and enjoy the smells of the cookies and candies being made and sold. Gone are the choice of restaurants, arcades for the kids, and even Dairy Queen have closed their doors.

Are the days of Malls over? All around Alton, we see more and more individual stores opening, and under construction. I rather enjoyed being in one building, opposed to traveling from one to another, fighting traffic, and the cold. Maybe I am old fashioned, but I liked the new Malls which opened in the late 70's and early 80's for the convinence of shopping in one place and in different stores.

So as we walked from one end of the Mall to the other, there at the escalators was the traditional Christmas village and Santa Clause. Thank God, some things didn't change or move out.

I talked with Kiley earlier, when she was at my house for the day, while her parents worked. I had told her we would go see Santa one day soon, and she could sit on his lap and tell him what she wanted for Christmas this year. Of course she had no idea what asking for gifts are all about for a child at this age, but she loves to play with my stuffed musical Santa's and even in her little way of talking, says Santa when we watch him dance and sing under the tree. So we walked into the village, and her mom put her down for me to take up to Santa. At first she didn't want to come with me, for this Santa was big as life and she was used to the little ones smaller than her. Finally, I picked her up, and holding her tightly, spoke softly that Santa had a book he would show her if she sat and let the lady take a picture of her and Santa together for us. I sat her upon his leg, and she started to look scared, Santa reached down and picked up his The night before Christmas book, and opened it. She looked at the book, and then at me, still not sure she wanted to sit here on this man in red, and I walked up and bent down, showed her some of the pictures in the book that we find in her books at home, and Santa very softly started reading the story to her. It only took a minute and she was fully engrossed in the story, and looking at the beautiful pictures in his book, she didn't mind the picture taking, taking place, and she would look up at Santa as he read, then back at the book. I stood there wondering what was going on in her little mind, and I was filled with pride, that all the strangers she has been around in our area have been good people, and we haven't had to teach her yet, there are bad ones out there. She attends our tractor pulls, all are strangers to her, she has gone on shopping expeditions, been to funerals and weddings, all among strangers to her. I am so glad I was present to see her enjoy the innocence only a child, has this year with her first visit to Santa. I pray we get to witness many many more years of her firsts, as she grows.

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In my Attic

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