Reflections | Lifestyle Magazine Reflections Vol14 No5 - Page 61

D uane says that, with or without the suit, kids are always pointing him out to their parents with the happy (or sometimes suspicious) declaration: “look, it’s Santa Claus!” He recalls a time when a little girl came up to him and said, “YOU are NOT Santa.” Luckily, his training had prepared him for just this situation. He agreed with her, but added that he and Santa were great friends. And so long as Mr. Claus was working up North, he was the big man’s eyes and ears. Knowing these chance encounters can happen at any time, Duane has trained himself to transform in the twinkling of an eye. I learned that being Santa is not for the faint of heart. Long days spent wearing a wool suit in Georgia’s humid heat can quickly become uncomfortable. But more than just the phys- ical strife, being Santa requires a great deal of studying, too. Duane tells us that he must con- stantly be on top of the latest gift trends. But he isn’t without help. To make his list and check it twice, there are easily accessible Santa informational websites to update him on what the kids are asking for this year. The world of Santa is nothing if not organized and overprepared. Meeting and speaking with Duane, you have no problem believing in Santa. His merry demeanor and jolly smile are proof enough that Christmas isn’t just a time of year, but a feeling you’re always carrying with you. His goals for the upcoming season are to spread the message of Christmas and to keep the image of Santa on the forefront, giving kids something special to believe in during the holidays and beyond. . So, to the community of Richmond Hill: you better watch out, you better not cry. You better not pout and we’ll tell you why. Santa Claus is already in town! Left to Right: Class of 1948. Learning to make wooden toys in the workshop. Midland Santa house. Rehearsing actions, voice and presentation skills with children. Class of 2016. Learning live reindeer habits. Re f 59