Letters to the editor - 12/23

December 23, 2002

We'll never forget your kindness, Santa Jack

To the editor:

Dear Santa Jack and family: Today I am still grateful for the kindness your family showed when you came to my struggling little home days before Christmas in 1998.

You didn't introduce yourself as Santa Claus but your thoughtful caring and the mystery that surrounds your arrival at my house ranks right up there with the Christmas magic of jolly old St. Nick himself!

You came to my house in a very nice green (I think) Jeep and you said you were from Maugansville. You said your name was Jack. I didn't know you from Adam.

You said you knew I must be busy with my young children. You knew that my husband had died tragically that year and you just wanted to share your family's Christmas with us. Mrs. Jack and her mom were in the Jeep with you and your wife stepped out to give me a Christmas bag filled with four Ty Beanie Baby Bears and a card. We were standing outside in the driveway.


I had my hands full tending to my three boys and my daughter, who had just turned 2. You weren't divulging your identities, I peeked into the bag, thanked you very much and soon you all were on your way. It was just before dinner time.

With dinner on the stove, toys on the floor and little hands reaching up for stuffed bears for themselves, I opened your card and one of those plastic department store gift cards fell to the floor. I picked it up and saw that it was for a whole lot of money. You remember the amount.

The song says Santa sees us when we are sleeping and he knows when we're awake, but I wanted to make sure you knew that when I was alone that night, I cried because of the reassurance your family's compassion provided for me.

I remember that you said your family was doing something different that year. Instead of buying gifts for each other, you all were going to reach out to someone in need. Four years later I am saying "thank you." If you are too busy at this time of year to read the paper, I hope one of your Maugansville friends will save this thank-you note for you.

Our little group had a most meaningful Christmas in 1998. There are many caring people in this area we call home. Of course it was a hard Christmas, but your gift provided another tender bit of softness that year.

I can't remember the gifts that were purchased, and I remember there was still an amount left on the card that one of my children used later in the spring. What I will never forget is the gentle assurance that your thoughtfulness gave to me.

Being touched by caring, compassionate people in a world that can seem so indifferent and hard is a sensation I will cherish in my soul forever.

Thank you for thinking of us. Thank you for being unselfish. Thank you for showing us how to celebrate this season of the heart.

Before my first husband died he had taught our children by example that if you do what is right and you do your best, things will work out. They may not work out the way you thought, but they will all work out.

We're still doing our best, trying (trying) to do what is right and by God's grace life is pretty much working itself out for us.

I guess you know that the children are 15, 12, 8 and 6 now. Have recent years passed as quickly for you as they have for me? We moved to a house that was easier to manage and closer to school, baseball fields and church.

This Christmas we will be driving to Florida to visit Jon's brothers and parents. The children love to spend time with their dad's family and I want to cherish that family connection.

The biggest change, Santa Jack, is my remarriage, but I guess you somehow know about that, too. Now our family has grown to include a 14-year-old brother and an 11-year-old sister!

Transitions are challenging times and Lord knows we've had a generous portion of transitions of late, but we are fine and we will be fine. Four years after your visit, I want to tell you that I am still grateful (forever grateful) for your family's unselfish thoughtfulness in 1998. May joy fill your holidays!

Merry Christmas!

Paulette Nehemias Harvey


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