“So I guess The Patriots beat LA today, eh?”
“The Patriots ma’am? I’m sorry but… ”
“You know, the game.”
The nice elderly woman carefully steps onto the lift and looks at me with a kindly smile. There’s no trace of incredulity so I take the plunge and continue my feigned ignorance. This is the first passenger on my shift today to mention the game, with whom I felt enough of a comfortable rapport to have a little fun and play dumb.
“There was a game today? What kind of game?”
“Football silly, The Super Bowl.”
“Oh… I see. That’s the biggest game, isn’t it? And you said the Los Angeles Rams were beaten by The Patriots, yes? What city are The Patriots from?”
She hesitates and looks up with sudden confusion as I continue to operate the lift. Taking care to be sure my precious cargo is holding onto the safety bar for stability, I lower her slowly to the ground in front of her small but very nice, older, “plantation style” Waimanalo home.
The children who had just before, been playing in the street and moved out of the way at our approach, now gather round. They call out lovingly to her as she descends and greets them before answering my question. A question I doubt she’d ever considered before.
“Umm… you know, I can’t remember just now. Funny eh?”
“Heh… well they sure must be patriotic. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the game.”
“I did, I won twenty bucks from my grandson.”
“Well, ahem… that’s just SUPER! Have a nice evening ma’am.”
“Oh you’re cute. Has anyone told you that you look like Santa Claus.”
“Yes ma’am… they have.”
She laughs with that wonderful, happy laugh of a person who has lived a full and rewarding life. Whatever hardships this Hawaiian elder has endured (and no doubt there HAVE been hardships) she has done so with grace. Her love of life and gratitude for all she has, flows through her and I am humbled. I feel a slight remorse for my ruse and then…
A few of the children that had not followed their “Nana” (great-grandmother?) to the house, gather round me as I raise the lift and prepare to depart.
“Are you really Santa Claus?”
Their honestly innocent young eyes widen as I smile and give a little “Ho ho ho… ”
“Yes… I am.” I go up the steps of my van and pick up my clipboard.
Gasping with joy, one whispers to the other as they turn back toward the house.
“See… I told you so.”
“No you didn’t. I told YOU.”
“Now remember boys, be nice and… listen to your mother.”
“Yes Santa, we will.”
So very blessed…