From those days onward, he was known as Santa or Mr. Christmas. It was his absolute favorite time of year, and it showed. From hardened soldier to lovable Santa, we were always so proud of him. When it was his time to leave us, he waited until very early Christmas morning, 2004, and hitched a ride upward in Santa's sleigh. He was 93.
As I helped maintain the Santa belief for my brother, I started paying more attention to how the whole system worked and the secret little joke that existed among the adults. This was about the same year that my Grandfather (Charles Daniels) began dressing up as Santa on Christmas morning when we opened presents at the Grandparents' house. Funny how he fit that so suit so very well......Come to find out, Grandpa was the mall Santa Claus at Northgate Mall in the Colerain area of Cincinnati. Plus, he was also the Santa Claus at his Masonic Lodge each year for the annual family event. So, for several years, it was our own Grandfather's lap that we sat on while whispering our Christmas wishes.....no wonder Mom and Dad got it so right every year....Santa was on speed dial! The above photos were taken on my brother's first Christmas, which was still a year of belief for me, although I knew this one was Grandpa. The one below is from one of his Lodge gigs as Santa. From the look on my face, I knew it was him.
Merry Christmas Grandpa! We miss you!