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Whittling Away: Old friend


By Dick Brooks

For Capital Region Independent Media

Headshot of a man named Dick Brooks.

Dear Santa,

It’s December, time to write to you, so here I am again. 

I hope after all these years, you’re not tired of reading my letters. I don’t write many letters, in fact this is the only one I’ve written this year but you’re one of my oldest friends and I like keeping in touch.

How’s Mrs. C and the elves? All happy, healthy and busy, I hope. How has your health been? Aging isn’t quite as much fun as I thought it was going to be and health issues become more important. You, being a few hundred years older than me, I was just wondering if the cold climate you live in was giving you the same kind of aches and creaking joints that the oncoming winter weather gifts me with frequently. 

Stay warm and get your flu shot, I worry about you.

I’d like to apologize for all the “Gimme” letters I wrote you in my younger years and I’d like to sincerely thank you for all the gifts you’ve brought me over the span of time you’ve made your yearly visits to my house. 

The years have given me the wisdom to see that those gifts have nothing to do with the presents you left under the tree. It’s funny, I can’t even remember most of the presents but the memories you left are some of my most prized possessions. I frequently flip through my mental card file under “Christmas” and pause to revisit the wonderful, wondrous Christmases of my childhood and the early morning air once again fills with wrapping paper as my brothers, my sister and I attack the present pile under the tree while our exhausted parents sipped much-needed coffee on the couch. 

A flip forward and I’m the one with the coffee, sitting next to my wife, listening to the sounds of pleasure and surprise. Treasures don’t have to be gold and jewels.

This has been a hard year for this old dirt ball we live on. Our family is doing well, our children are on their own and we’re so proud of them and their accomplishments. Our parents share the holiday in our memories and my beautiful Queen remains my best friend, so all is well with us.

We can handle Christmas on our own this year if you need to spend more time with the folks who need you. What with hurricanes, earthquakes and wars, there are so many people who need your attention and help more than we do that we’d understand if you didn’t make it to our house.

It would be nice if after your busy season is over, you’d stop by for a visit, though. Bring your wife and some of the elves, if you’d like. I just know our wives would hit it off, they could gather at the piano with the elves and sing Christmas songs and maybe talk my daughter into doing a solo for us. You and I would sit listening on the couch with an adult beverage and talk about old times. I’d really like that!

Well, I’ve taken up enough of your time. There are so many small ones out there that really need a present this year that I’ll let you get back to work.

Thank you once again, Old Friend, and I’ll write again next year.

I love you,


Reach columnist Dick Brooks at

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