The Profound Pontifications
of Brother John Deacon
By James C. “Chris” Williams IV
And Santa Said, “It’s All About The Kids”
I was mortified! There was Santa, lying on his back, like a turtle, trying to turn itself over. Kids were staring at him wide eyed with their mouths hanging open and parents were giggling at him. He was flailing his arms and legs, clearly in distress…. even more distress than the kids watching him. Short staccato grunting sounds were coming out of his mouth. If it wasn’t so bizarre it would have been funny. I wondered why the elves weren’t helping him up….. wait a minute, I didn’t see any elves. No one was helping him. He was a pretty big guy and it would take more than me to get him up.
I looked around for John. He had told me to meet him here but he was nowhere to be found. Where the heck was he?
So I bet you are wondering why I am standing in a shopping mall in the middle of the day waiting for John Deacon to show up. Heck, I was starting to wonder the same thing. He had called two days before and told me he was having trouble with “Ol Blackie” and being the good Brother that I am, I told him I would drive up and swap trucks with him and find out what was wrong and swap back when he came through town.
Well I got to John’s house after driving what seemed to be halfway across Texas and Mrs. Deacon told me he was working a volunteer job and sent me to the city’s major shopping mall. With a big grin she told me that he said he would meet me by the Santa Clause display. I just happened to walk up in time to witness poor old Santa in an embarrassing situation and I was willing to help him up but he was too big for me to do it alone. Then I heard his voice… I thought it was his voice. I looked around trying to locate him and …. I heard the voice again…. screaming at me, “Brother Chris, what the heck are you staring at? Help me up.” I realized the voice was coming from Santa.
“Holy Moly!!! Is that you John”, I said? “Do you hear anyone else calling you Brother,” he screamed again? “Help me up, the blood is running to my head.” I grabbed his hand and tried to pull him up and all he did is slip across the floor. As hard as I tried I couldn’t get any part of his body to stick in order to pull him up. I told him that if he would just relax we could dust mop the whole area. “You can cut the comedy routine,” he snarled. “This durned Santa suit slips and slides over everything. As soon as I sat down in my seat I slid right out on the floor. That’s when you walked up. “Maybe it’s the configuration of your rear end that’s the problem,” I said as serious as I could. “Maybe it’s not conducive to a positive engagement to that chair.” “He started growling like a junkyard dog, “You need to get me up now while I still have a good opinion of you.”
With the help of several people in the ever growing audience and a lot of grunting and groaning we got him on his feet. The four people that were in line to see Santa said they were going to do some shopping and would be back later to see him. Hearing that, John announced that all of the exertion had made him hungry. Imagine that. As I trailed behind Santa walking into Luby’s Cafeteria, I reflected on the most embarrassing moments of my life and realized that during several in the top ten, I was in the company of one John Deacon. You already know where this is going, don’t you?
As I watched John load up not one, but two trays of food, the movie “Animal House” kept coming to mind. John wasn’t as crude as Belushi was in the movie, but the number of little plates of this and that and one of everything else were stacked up pretty high. Heck if he had them all on one level he would have needed two more trays at least. All the workers in the food line were shaking their head but seemed to accept that it was Santa and he needed a lot to keep his portly figure. The lady at the register was having a real hard time adding everything up and that was the time John turned to me and informed me that there was not a place for him to put his wallet is his Santa outfit so guess what, I was going to have to buy. What a surprise. She was relieved when she finally got to my one little tray.
It took three helpers to help John…I mean Santa get all his chow to the table and by the time I got the bill sorted out and found him he was getting after his meal pretty good. I knew not to talk to him right then so I dug into my lunch in silence. It is always good food at Luby’s and I was sure enjoying mine. I glanced over at Johns spread and it looked like he had had some trouble making up his mind when he was choosing. He had about four different meats and twice as many veggies and I could see a couple of slices of pie peeking out underneath two rolls and a piece of cornbread. If that wasn’t enough I saw that he had grabbed several pickles and jalapenos on the way. Boy, I sure hoped the kids could survive his breath after this.
He kept complaining the whole time that the white hairs on his fake beard and mustache were getting in his mouth. I told him he couldn’t take it off because there were a lot of kids watching so he mumbled something about it not being fair and kept on eating. I figure he consumed about a quarter of that mustache during that meal. Finally after the last trace of food and the last drop of drink was gone he checked around and under all the dishes and after checking my side of the table too he seemed satisfied that there was nothing left eat or drink and leaned back in his seat, let out a big sigh and promptly started to slide out of the seat.
Frantically he grabbed the edge of the table to stop himself from falling on the floor and managed to hold on and push himself back up. He looked up and saw that I was about to burst out laughing and gave me the “John” look and said evenly, “Don’t do it Brother or we are going to have words right here.” “Don’t forget that Santa is supposed to be jolly,” I said, and he quickly looked around to make sure no one had seen him growling.
“What the heck am I going to do about this slippery suit,” he said pleadingly? “And don’t you say another word about the configuration of my rear end. Come up with something I can use.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it Brother,” I said. “Do you have any words of wisdom before I head back to civilization or is this basically a wasted rescue trip?” “Hold on there, my Brother,” he said hurriedly. “Don’t you even want to know why I am dressed in this fat suit?” “Hmmmmm, I said, “Maybe because it fits you?”
“What do you think you are, some kind of comedian,” he snarled as I chuckled to myself? “So why are you masquerading as Santa,” I asked. Well, he got a real serious look on his face and said, “I was thinking the other day about how different the world is from the one I grew up in. You can’t take your eyes off your kids or anyone you care about anymore because there is a predator of some kind trying to hurt or somehow take advantage of them. It seems that no one is safe anymore. Also, when I was a kid there was right and there was wrong. It seems that there is not much of a distinction between right and wrong anymore and that instead of something being wrong the one that screwed up is allowed to justify what was done by some ridiculous or unbelievable reason or by blaming the problem on the person that was wronged. It blows my mind. We have taught our children that they don’t have to take any personal responsibility for their actions. Not only is this crazy, it’s dangerous. The more I thought about it the more my head ached.” (my head was aching too as he went on) “What happened to the Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments? Where in the world has God gone? I don’t see any kids praying anymore.” As he talked, he was getting more and more agitated. I had to keep motioning him to talk lower because the more he talked the louder he got. Why are 97% of the people cow-towing to 3%? It’s easy. If you don’t like something then don’t participate. If you don’t like praying then don’t pray, but don’t make it your object to force everyone else to be like you. If you don’t want to say the Pledge of Allegiance, then don’t say it. If you don’t believe in the Constitution then I say….. GET THE HELL OUT OF THIS COUNTRY …….. we don’t need you here. He had yelled it out and several shocked diners turned to stare. “I am sorry Brother Chris for yelling, but this is just not right.” “Can you tell me what the *&#*% is a Holiday tree? IT’S A CHRISTMAS TREE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!! Why do I go into the department stores and I don’t hear any Christmas Carrols? We are not teaching the children the values they need to know. We are sitting back and letting people with little or no values and morals teach our younger generation. This cannot continue!” He stopped talking and much softer said, “So, that’s when I decided that I needed to do something and that’s why I am here. Being Santa let’s me do something positive for the kids and remind them of the good things about Christmas. If we are going to make this world a good one with good people then we have to start with the children. We have to teach them good values and good morals. We have to teach them about God and what it means to follow God.”
“But John”, I said. “God isn’t as popular as he used to be. There are a lot of people out there trying to convince as many as they can that he doesn’t even exist.” He smiled knowingly and said, “Brother Chris let me tell you about God. There are several different kinds of people out there when it comes to God. Those that think he is there, those that hope he is there, and those that won’t allow themselves to believe he is there. Then there are those like me. You see, I don’t just believe in God. I know he’s there. So many times I look around and see what I am doing and where I am and I know I am right here right now because that’s where he wants me. When I put this suit on today I looked at myself in the mirror and apart from thinking I looked stupid I thought to myself that God put me right here. If it had not been for the idea popping into my thick head putting me here, this is not something that I would normally do; it had to be HIM. Heck I am sure HE is responsible for me coming into your shop with OL Blackie almost two years ago. I could have stopped anywhere but I stopped at your place. Was it coincidence? I don’t think so. My friendship with you has led to a lot of interesting things. It has caused me to express myself in ways I never thought possible. I believe this is due to HIS influence also. So, I have resolved to begin the New Year doing my part to teach the children and share my Masonic principals and teachings with anyone and everyone I come in contact with. I know we do this as Masons every day but I am going to be more conscious of helping everyone that I can, see the “light”, as we Masons call it. You may think I am crazy but I believe it needs to be done.
He got quiet all of a sudden and looked down. I thought he might be out of breath. I said, “I agree with you John. It would be nice if more people felt like you do.” He didn’t respond and I thought he might have gone to sleep when all of a sudden his eyes got big and his head shot up and he looked back at his watch and exclaimed, “Oh Lord, I’m late! I’ve got to get back! The kids will be waiting for me. He got up and headed for the door and then stopped. “Brother Chris what am I going to do about sliding off the chair again”, he asked in a worried tone.
I told him to go ahead and I would meet him at the display. I had seen the store that I figured would have what I was looking for. Sure enough they did and I got it and hurried to take care of Santa. As I walked up I could see there was a long line of kids waiting to sit on Santa’s lap and John …‘er Santa was standing there fidgeting. He looked stressed and he saw me and anxiously asked, “Well what did you get?” I told him that I had his problem handled. I reached in the bag I was carrying and pulled it out and spread it out on the hard plastic Santa seat. John looked down at it and then at me and then back down… and finally back at me and said, “You’ve got to be kidding.”
“What’s the problem, I said? “It’s got suction cups on one side and bumps on the other.” “It’s a gol’ durn non slip bathtub mat,” he whined with a pained look on his face. “John, it’s the biggest thing I could find that would fit your …… “Don’t you even say it,” he snapped as he cut me off mid sentence. “This is embarrassing.”
“What’s worse”, I asked innocently? “Wallowing around on the floor on your back like a beached whale or sitting on a rubber mat? And it’s your color too, it’s pink.” Well he was frustrated and humiliated at the same time but the wisdom of the situation won out as he shook his head and plopped down and motioned for the first kid to come up. By the time that little boy was sitting on his knee he had forgotten any problems with the seat. He was smiling and talking and was the big lovable John of always. I watched for a few minutes while he talked to several kids and sent them all away smiling and happy. He looked up and I caught his eye and gave him the “thumbs up” signal and waved. He returned the signal and mouthed “thanks.”
I smiled and headed out to find John’s truck hearing the laughing and chatter of the children talking with Santa as I walked away down the concourse. I had to agree with the big guy. It really is all about teaching the children. I sure hope Ol’ Blackie gets me back to San Antonio. Y’all have a great Holiday Season.