My Grandpa is Santa Claus. I am dead serious. He is never seen without donning some sort of red, whether it be his red bowler hat or one of his many red shirts, (but he’s got to replace one as he spilled chili on it!) He even has a red car, and we can’t forget his dog, who is named Red. The man is committed to his trade. And he has been for 20 years.
The way he tells it is basically, he started to look like Santa when he began to approach older age, so he might as well own it. Another thing to know about Robert Stone, is that he is a story teller. You will not have a conversation with him that doesn’t include at least one of his life adventures. And he is a good storyteller, has it down to a tee. He first grabs your attention with some random one liner, and then he’ll give you some background so you understand the context, and then he will bring it home with the unexpected ending. He’s like an author, and he just never sits down to write an entire book. He really doesn’t have time, because he’s always much too busy living out his next story or working on his next big idea, to sit and write about past experiences.
But one of his most notable stories, mostly because it has been ongoing for 20 years, is his story of becoming (in my opinion) the best Santa Claus of all time. First of all, he takes the position very seriously, which is a very important quality in a Santa because if a Santa doesn’t take it seriously he makes all Santas look bad. Grandpa is also part of the “International Brotherhood of Real-Bearded Santas", which is pretty self explanatory, but basically it’s a bunch of Santas who have real beards, and sometimes they have Santa conventions. He loves being Santa, and he’ll go around to hospitals around Christmas time in his Santa suit with a bag full of Beanie Babies, walk up to the children’s hall and hand out toys to the kids. People love him and what he does so much that they donate stuffed animals to him so he can hand them out. My grandpa loves seeing their little faces light up with gratitude when he hands them those toys.
In my unbiased opinion, I think Robert Stone is the best Santa out there, because he is a well-rounded Santa. Santa-ing is not the only thing he does. For example, he is a biology professor at Drury University. Grandpa also is a good photographer, and he can build violins if given the right materials. He loves cars and dogs, enjoys the occasional cold beer, and most importantly, he loves his family and his beautiful late wife June, more than anything in the world.
He often credits most of his accomplishments to her, because he says she made him a better person and doesn’t know where he’d be without his June’s love and support. She loved being able to watch him be Santa, as long as no one called her Mrs. Claus.
I love my Grandpa Stone and all of his quirky, crazy, funny, heartwarming stories and I hope that someday I can manage to tell a story like he can. I’ve got a pretty good one to start thanks to him: my Grandpa is Santa Claus. I mean really, not many people can start a story with that.