• 63°

Santa, if you don’t mind, bring me….

Dear Santa:

Yo, Nick, what’s up?

Hope this letter finds you and your family well and in high spirits as the days, hours and minutes tick down towards that magical time on Dec. 24.

I know you’re extremely busy during these final few days as you prepare for your annual trip around the world. There must be hundreds of things on your spreadsheet – everything from making that list and checking it twice to polishing-up old Rudolph’s nose. However, I would be much appreciative if you could find just a few precious moments in your extremely busy schedule to read my letter.

I guess I’ll start with the obvious – Santa, I’ve been a real, real good boy this past year. I only ticked off the people who needed a swift kick in the rear.

No matter what you heard to the contrary, I didn’t laugh out loud when hurrying to get that prime parking space close to the front of the grocery store (forcing that little old lady, vying for the identical spot, to look for another space). And believe me Mr. Claus, it wasn’t me who dropkicked that tiny, stray kitten – the one apparently begging for food – off my front porch this past spring.

Santa, the really good part about this annual letter is that I’m not asking you to leave me anything under the Christmas tree. As usual, my requests are limited to those who are in real need this holiday season. With that in mind, would you be so kind as to grant the following wishes:

For the Hertford County Tax Department – a brand, spanking new 2006 Kelley Blue Book so they can accurately place a fair market price on my aging 1991 Oldsmobile. Recently, I paid my tax on this car – one that the local Tax office deemed its worth at $3,300. I found out otherwise after the car had a minor skirmish with a deer, causing front-end damage. When my insurance adjuster checked out the damage, he informed me the car (one with 158,000 miles) was worth $1,775, or roughly $1,500 less than the value placed upon it by Hertford County.

For the drivers here in the Roanoke-Chowan area who have been nabbed for either driving while their license were revoked, DWI or having no operators license, please leave them each a good pair of tennis shoes so they can walk where ever they need. In other words, if you can’t legally drive, then stay off the roads used by law-abiding citizens.

To my boss, Jeff Finley, a good night’s sleep. (Jeff and his wife, Stephanie, are the proud parents of a new baby boy.)

For my Forest Service buddies: Michael Hughes, Rodney Black and Rudy Whitehurst; a wet spring.

Over on the home front, my daughter could sure use a well-paying job.

For my sister, wife and sister-in-laws – a full tank of gas and the wind at their backs so they can travel and shop for all those after-Christmas bargains.

For my good neighbor, Kevin Joyner, two decent football teams in which to root for instead of his favorites – the UNC Tar Holes and the Washington Deadskins. Santa, if you will allow me, I’d like to suggest to Kevin that he make the switch to the NC State Wolfpack and the Miami Dolphins. And, by the way, Santa, would you please convince Kevin that no, good old Southern boys root for the New York Yankees!

On the state scene, please leave House Speaker Jim Black a role of duct tape just in case that opening below his nose begins to move.

For the greater Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach area – another interstate. They just don’t have enough eight-lane roads to handle those zillion zanies behind the wheel.

For the greater Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area – see above.

As far as my athletic wishes are concerned, I’d like nothing better than an 8-8 season for the Dolphins; someone (anyone) to end the Colts winning streak; and a blue-chip freshman quarterback with a golden arm at NC State.

On the worldwide scene, please pay Osama bin laden a visit (I know you, and perhaps only you, are aware of his whereabouts) and leave him two tickets to Hell (just in case he loses one of them).

That’s about it. Thanks for taking time to read my letter. Give my best to the wife and family and here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas.

Your pal,

Cal

P.S. I’m planning to leave you a snack under the Christmas tree, but I sure do get hungry late at night. If it’s not there, you’ll know what happened.