Columnist pens wish list for Santa

Dear Santa,

It has been a very long time since you’ve heard from me. As a 5-year-old, I asked you for a teddy bear. At 9, I made a case — apparently proving beyond a shadow of a doubt — that I deserved a bike. At 13, clothes topped my Christmas list, but, by then, I no longer believed in you.

Well, I believe in you now. Or at least I very badly want to believe that a jolly, chubby, bearded guy wearing a red suit can fulfill many of my fondest yuletide dreams. Assuming you actually exist, Santa, what do I want from you this Christmas? World peace? The eradication of hunger and disease? No, I’ll leave those altruistic wishes to Miss America wannabes who do not understand that there are limitations to your power.

I also realize that neither you nor doctors — and we’ve consulted many — have the power to restore my mother’s ability to walk. I would appreciate it, however, if you don’t leave any presents in the stocking of the self-important, big-city orthopedic surgeon we consulted. If you were watching to see if HE was naughty or nice, I hope you noted that he was NOT nice when he cursorily examined Mom and brusquely demanded, “Just what do you want me to do?”

I’m pretty sure he didn’t expect me to reply, “Fix her!”

“HUH?” he asked, shocked into inarticulation.

“You asked what we wanted you to do,” I said. “That’s what we WANT you to do. What CAN you do?” (Yes, Santa, I know I was not very nice to him either, but HE started it.)

Another individual on your naughty list should be the woman who obscenely saluted me in traffic a few weeks ago. When I was little and stuck out my tongue or made ugly faces, my mother warned me that my face might freeze that way. Perhaps you could give that woman the gift that keeps on giving by freezing her finger. If she had to go about her daily business with that particular digit pointed skyward, I think she’d be pretty embarrassed at work, in church or attending parent-teacher conferences. (For the record, Santa, I have been a very good girl who has NEVER used that gesture … even though you surely must realize that I have had plenty of provocation.)

Anyway, now that I am on the giving — rather than receiving — end of teddy bears and bikes, I have a few grownup desires you may be able to satisfy. For example, I really could use the gift of patience, as those who know me well can attest. And, yes, I’d like it right now, but I guess I can wait until Christmas if I must. Also, although I have lots of initiative, I’d appreciate having a bit more finishative. Then, if you have influence with Mother Nature, will you speak to her about the extra layer of body fat that she gave to women? Frankly, we don’t need it.

When you’re flying around the world on Christmas Eve, Santa, please drop some extra-special goodies for our soldier-boys and -girls who are far from their homes and families. You’ll remember that at age 4, I sat on your lap and told you all I wanted for Christmas was for you to bring my daddy home from the war. I know it made an impression on you, because my mother later told me you had tears in your eyes when you said that perhaps he’d be home by NEXT Christmas. (I’m not holding it against you, Santa, but he wasn’t.)

Would you mind sending an angel — well, I suppose an elf will have to do — to watch over and protect every person I love? There are times when getting through life requires a little extra help.

And one more thing, Santa, please make it snow on Christmas Eve, enough for kids to use the new sleds you’ll bring them on Christmas Day. While you’re at it, make it cover the ground, but melt on roads so families can safely travel to Grandma’s house for Christmas dinner.

If you’ll grant all my wishes, Santa, I will personally contact Mrs. Claus and make sure she has hot cocoa and cookies waiting for you when you return home from your Christmas rounds. However, if — like everyone else on the planet — you are on the Atkins diet, I’ll ask her to substitute a T-bone steak and salad for the cocoa and cookies.

Forever your friend,