Recently I decided that I’d experiment with being semi-retired one day. I ate my oatmeal at home, took my time at the gym and had a good sweaty workout.

Then I showered and took my imaginary catheter bag down the road to Starbucks. Current old men gather at McDonalds now to drink coffee and discuss life. Foward-thinking like I am, I look to Starbucks to grow old in. I had my venti Americano with an extra shot and steamed half and half and surfed and read on my Ipad at the brown and green Starbucks counter.

Leaving the smell of coffee and the whirring/clinging/slushing sounds of delicious drinks being created behind, I left after I was satisfied I’d sampled that part of what’s ahead.  Not sure where to go next on this experimental semi-retirement day,  I spied the thrift store next door.

Thrift stores seem to be places that retired people go. So taking my coffee with me, I went into the thrift store to see what was amok up in there. After seeing several things that we have in our house right now and thinking how our kids are gonna be bestowed with these same awesome trinkets when we’re gone, I went to the mens clothing. Flipping thru the various things I wondered who once owned them. Did they die? Did they move away? Did Bob change his name to Ephram, drop this polo shirt off here and go into witness proctection in Colorado because he witnessed a murder with a hacksaw. Or perhaps they just got too fluffy for that shirt. Or maybe they lost weight and it was baggy on them.

I wandered upon a nice green Eddie Bauer fuzzy pullover. Hardly used, it had pockets, half-zip front and was in a tall size. Trying in on up front in front of the general public was in order because Covid kept their dressing rooms closed, they said. I failed to see how having an item in the fitting rooms could transport germs worse than handling the same goods in public. Since I have no shame at all, I tried it on before a crowd of thrifty shoppers. It fit but I wasn’t exactly sure about this.

Putting my hands in the pockets to see if they had holes in the bottoms and Santa’s sleigh bell might fall out, I found 2 hair pins. I’m long past needing hair accoutrements so I sat those aside. Then I found a piece of folded paper in the other pocket.

Unfolding that torn edge of paper, I read there in black and white what I have claimed since a small child; Santa’s phone number.

He’s real! See I have proof now!

I immediatly dialed that number on my cell because I needed to tell Santa that this Christmas I wanted a new orange couch for my beach house.

It rang and my screen said North Pole was the number it was dialing.  I got excited inside.

When I call a doctor’s office about a patient I ask for the nurse. But occasionally the doctor himself will answer. Reckon Santa himself will answer because the elves are busy buiding orange couches?

It dialed into a fax machine.

While the whir and fizz of a fax dial is not as exciting as a ‘ho ho ho’ it was still comforting knowing that I coud fax my request for an orange couch this year.

Satisfied that I now must buy this green pullover, I took it to the counter to purchase. I showed the number to the clerk and he got excited. I had to use the potty like old men do in thrift stores. Not trusting the man behind the counter with Santa’s number I took it with me. Just in case he decided to keep the number and order the last orange couch.

I’ve believed in Santa since I was a small child. I still do. In this day of Covid and war and anger and cancer and problems, there is absolutely NO reason not to believe in a fat man that brings presents to kids. It doesn’t mean you’re not a Christian. I’ve never worshipped a man in a red suit.

Santa means hope.

And affiirmations to aging men in thrift stores.

Now I’m sharing this sacred phone number with my followers here because you’re that special in my life. Feel safe to order the last orange couch now if you need one.

Beause I’ve got mine.

And let me be the first one, maybe, to wish you a Merry Christmas 2022!

That’s the best that I can tell about it,