the best christmas begins at norad. . . .

you shouldn’t be looking at this–you should be tracking santa with the north american aerospace defense command.  every year, on christmas eve, the folks at norad who are our first line of defense against aliens, terrorists, and otherwise enemies tracks the progress of santa from the north pole.  the tradition of tracking santa began in 1955 when the sears & roebuck company misprinted a telephone number which children could use to call santa and find out about his progress.  the number actually connected to NORAD’s predecessor CONAD — please just roll with the acronyms — and in particular to colonel harry shoup who found himself on the phone with youngsters reassuring them that he had santa on his radar screen.  the next year, there really wasn’t a way to weasel out of the responsibility.  when santa is in north american airspace, the NORAD pilots tip their wings and santa thinks it’s just grand!

the biggest impediment to a healthy belief in santa is the twenty four hour delivery time.  and yet, we say yessirree bob to fedex all the time or we believe that an email is going to show up on someone’s cell phone like snap!  but okay, one man, nine deer (if you include rudolph, who was actually a latecomer to the fold), it’s a tough ideology.

a big stumbling block is that we all think it takes 24 hours to deliver presents around the world.  how can that happen?  just think einstein, space time continuum.  if you’re a physicist you know what i’m talking about.  time exists in a different way for santa.  he probably thinks he’s on the road all year long, just like someone tracking down all their facebook friends.  that’s why you should leave out really good snacks and a bucket of water and some carrots for the deer.  for santa, not me.

in winnetka, christmas starts three or four days before the actual twenty fifth.  i saw f2fb friend #284 lauren redmond only briefly but it was as if space and time were gone.  i’ve known her since she was in third grade, when her ambition was to become a writer and an actress.  she can do anything she wants, although right now she’s doing marketing for a soccer association.  then i saw f2fb friend #285 wendy mitome who said she can’t take a good picture. . . i won’t even post a poll.  we all know the answer.

yes she can!!!!!

 

and then i saw tripper.  all year, tripper–okay, lawson whitesides III–has said “economize, consolidate, don’t make unnecessary trips. i live in dallas, you have no other facebook friends in dallas, wait until christmas and i will see you then”

to believe in santa and tripper, well, it takes some gumption.  i had to believe, really believe, and not push it.  not pick up some cheap kayak.com special and go.  and i was rewarded this morning.  tripper and his beloved bride myra (okay, eight years but who’s counting?) met up with me.  we spent an hour catching up and there was a lot to catch up on–tripper has survived cancer, he’s started a thriving insurance practice, he’s married, and i suddenly felt old.

except not too old to believe in santa.  if he could bring tripper (f2fb friend #286) the most beautiful bride in the world, he can do anything!

i am grateful to tripper, myra, and to the http://noradsanta.org tracking system.  as i write, santa is pulling out of russia and heading this way.  it’s three thirty in the afternoon but one thing norad warns you about is if you’re not asleep santa might accidentally pass you over.  i put aside two ambien just for the occasion!


6 responses to “the best christmas begins at norad. . . .

  • Linda Glaser

    The Shoups were good friends of Rich’s parents-Harry was very proud of his relationship with Santa!

    • arlynn

      linda, that’s so great! you must have heard stories of that first year when harry was surprised by children calling to talk to santa. he must have been quite an improvisational genius to come up with the “we’re the defenders of north america and we have santa on our radar screen and everything’s fine, please go to bed now!”

  • Sigridur Magnusdottir

    that is such a cute story, I hadn’t heard this before. Lovely couple and hey, only a few more days to go, you have done so well, so well. Hope you have had a wonderful Christmas and hey! have a fantastic New Year!

  • arlynn

    sigridur!!! merry xmas!! i’m not sure whether santa visits you first or last on his trip, but whenever he does, i hope he remembers to tell you that i wish you many wonderfuls this coming year!!!

  • Lawson Whitesides III

    It was absolutely fantastic to see you! I feel like maybe an hour wasn’t long enough, and hopefully the next time we’re in town we can meet up again!! Once again like I said, we feel so honored that you would wanna spend time with us and talk with us and want to include us in your book (& blog)! Keep posting updates and we will continue to read them!

    Bests,

    Lawson (Tripper) Whitesides III

    • arlynnpresser

      you have no idea how much pleasure it gave me to see you and your beloved and to know that you have found and made for yourself great happiness! and i also appreciate what a delightful dude you were to say “hey, if there aren’t any other facebook friends in dallas, save your money and see us at christmas!” every little bit helps! in any event, now let’s figure out how to sell a book! much love, arlynn

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