“Is this Dick Yarbrough, the modest and much-beloved columnist?”
“It depends on who is calling. If you are a bill collector, the check is in the mail. If you are an angry reader, call the editors. They make me write this stuff. If you want to tell me the United Nations is using mind control to take over zoning in Cobb County, call our Ambassador to Outer Space Cynthia McKinney. This is right down her alley or, should I say, up her orbit.”
“Listen, this is Santa Claus calling from the North Pole. I need some help. Rudolph is threatening to unionize the reindeers and stage a walkout over the holidays. I may not be able to get the gifts delivered by Christmas. I should never have hired Rudolph. I was so fascinated with his nose I didn’t realize he was from Detroit.”
“Jeepers, Santa. Would you like me to call Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin and see if you can borrow his F-150? It is fire engine red and we could put little antlers on the hood.”
“I have already called him. The mayor is uncomfortable having his pickup truck sitting on a rooftop while some fat guy scampers down a chimney. Says it would be bad for his image.”
“I can see his point. Having that vanity tag, ‘MG Mayor’ restricts where you can take the truck. Seeing it parked on a rooftop would raise all kinds of questions about where he was and what he was doing. By the way, I have trouble parallel parking so I don’t think I am your guy.”
“You are my last hope. Negotiations with the reindeer are taking longer than expected. I would like to deputize you to deliver gifts in Cobb County for me, in case I don’t get there. No rooftop parking is required. You can leave the motor running. To make it easy for you, there will be a printout complete with names and addresses. Even for a UGA graduate, this should be a fairly simple job.” I had no idea Santa Claus could be such a wiseacre.
“First, for former Gov. Roy Barnes I have a guitar and the latest Sons of the Pioneers song book. It gets awfully lonely tending cattle under the stars on Whitlock Avenue. Also, having him sing a couple of verses of ‘Tumblin’ Tumbleweeds’ is guaranteed to keep the coyotes away.”
“That’s a gift I would love to deliver. I have never met a real cowboy.”
“Let’s see what else I have here. Oh, yes. I know you are friends with State Rep. Earl Ehrhart in Powder Springs but he can say some really weird stuff when he gets angry. Like calling people ‘Gladys Kravitz.’ I want you to give him a set of DVDs of ‘The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis’ show. Maybe he can find some new and creative ways of making his point; for example, accusing someone of being ‘Chatsworth Osborne, Jr.’”
“But, Santa, who remembers Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. on the ‘The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis’?”
“About the same number that remember Gladys Kravitz on ‘Bewitched’ but I don’t have time to debate the early days of television at the moment. Let me continue. I want you to deliver a dozen pair of boots to Bret Tillman, the lawyer who has made booting cars in his parking lot an art form. Now, while calling someone to apply the boot, he can toss one of these patent leather jobs on the miscreant’s car along with a note that says ‘Courtesy of Chatsworth Osborne, Jr.”
“You think of everything, big guy. What else is in the bag?”
“I’ve got an inflatable 5-story building for Philip Goldstein. Blow it up in the morning and deflate in the evening. That way he can have his skyscraper on the Square. And a gerbil named Eugene for former Cobb school board member Rev. John Crook to let him know how much you miss him and his extraordinary sense of humor and — Uh! Oh! I have just been handed a note saying my eight tiny reindeer have decided to join the Teamsters and have elected Rudolph their union steward. They are headed to Washington as we speak to hug Congressman David Scott. Oh, woe is me! It looks like I may have to call off Christmas!”
Suddenly, I awoke and realized it was a bad dream. It must have been the fruit cake I ate last night. Santa Claus didn’t call. The reindeer aren’t unionizing. Nobody is going to park Mayor Tumlin’s F-150 on top of the Lucky Draw Tattoo Parlor. Yes, Christmas is still coming to Cobb County, girls and boys, and it should be better than ever. I am relieved that it was all a dream, but I must admit I will miss hearing Roy Barnes sing “Tumblin’ Tumbleweeds.”
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.