Gabe: "Seeing how you have rabbit fur trim on your coat there, I guess you won't mind me telling you that our dog, Penny, catches a rabbit at least every day. Yeah, she really does. And then she eats half and gives the other half to the cats."
Not skipping a beat, Santa's answer: "I don't like your chances with the Easter Bunny, guys."
Folks who know us may be wondering, though... I thought y'all didn't do Santa. Well, no; we don't. But we had time to spend after Mass today while the girls were in choir practice, and ended up at a candy store in downtown Omaha where we were greeted at the door by an apparently bored Santa. William and Gabe (as all our children) enjoy the Santa mythology but don't believe Santa is real; they knew this kind gentlemen was playing a part -- and they played right along -- straight-faced the whole time. It was hilarious.
Not another soul was in the store, so they got Santa's ear for a good twenty minutes. Little did he know what he was getting into when he sat down with these little guys! They didn't let on that they were "unbelievers," and he didn't let on that they were totally cracking him up, though every once in a while, in the midst of their discussion (which chiefly concerned dogs, cats, rabbits, reindeer, and how Santa broke into houses without chimneys), he looked over to Dan and me with a twinkle in his eye and a quivering of his whiskers, as if he were silently chuckling under his beard. He was an awesome facsimile of the caricature (winkwink) -- a great Santa!
Oh, yeah - and there's this: I was very proud of Gabe, who, when Santa first greeted them with "Merry Christmas," responded: "But it's not Christmas yet, you know." My boy. It's not Christmas yet, but today does mark a new liturgical year! St. Nicholas' feast day is coming up within the week, but it's almost four weeks until the Big Birthday! Still plenty of time to fine tune our Christmas lists -- gifts and kindnesses for one another and new resolutions for Baby Jesus.
Blessings and best wishes to anyone who happens by! Happy First Sunday of Advent! Happy New Year in the Church!