Ham, turkey and Ricky Bobby

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 21, 2006

Dear Santa:

Discounting all the bad things I’ve done this year, I’ve been good.

I really didn’t want to write all those stories about murder and mayhem, but my boss threatened to withhold my paycheck if I failed to perform my job. And without money, my wife and daughter would have to seek professional help in order to deal with their emotional stress of being denied a chance to ride to Greenville and go shopping.

And that parking lot ordeal at Thanksgiving wasn’t my fault. There I was, doing my best to provide for my family (okay, actually I was at the grocery store to buy a six-pack and a bag of chips for my annual poker night) when that little old lady was trying to beat me to a prime parking space. Yes, yes, I cut her off and grabbed the spot myself. But Santa, I swear to you the “Caddy” she was driving would not come close to fitting in the “Cart Return” area.

Santa, if you will please find it in that big heart of yours and overlook all my bad points, the following is my Christmas wish list.

Topping my list is to put a gag on my boss, Jeff, and my Sports Editor, Thadd. Both are rabid University of Alabama football fans and, as you know….we most definitely know here at the office, the Crimson Tide is looking for a head coach. Hour after hour, day after day, we are forced to listen to the latest rumors swirling around that coaching vacancy. Please, send Alabama somebody…anybody as a head coach. We know the West Virginia coach turned them down, so maybe someone from Conference USA will suffice.

For my boys over at the Ahoskie Rural Fire Department, they sure could use a new fire truck to replace an aging piece of equipment. Something big, shiny and red with a loud siren will do.

Over in Bertie County, the citizens there could use a lot of patience and understanding as their board of commissioners wade through something entirely new n a zoning ordinance. It appears Bertie is becoming a hot spot for residential, and hopefully retail, development…so much to the point that it has the county’s leaders having to make some tough decisions on how to control this sudden growth.

At some point after he rests up a bit, can you loan old Rudolph out to U.S. Intelligence and see if he can lend a hand – oops, I mean the bright beacon that is his nose – in finding Osama bin chicken? He, like Saddam before he was nabbed, has probably crawled under a rock. If you really want to so all of us a favor, after locating Mr. Chicken you can drop the rock on his head. If that’s beyond your realm of fair play, then strap him into a remote control aircraft and aim it towards a mountain. We’ll listen for the boom.

Santa, is there anything you can do about straightening up this trade deficit dilemma? I – like so many true-blooded Americans – am growing tired of seeing our fellow countrymen and women being forced out of their jobs, losing their homes and, more importantly, losing the respect they’ve built over the years, because their employers go running in a mad frenzy towards cheaper labor in Mexico and China. Nothing bleeds red-white-and-blue more than being forced to sit through a call for technical support to Pakistan and having to repeatedly ask the person to repeat what they said.

Is there anyway you can convince our leaders in Washington that it would be in the best interest of the United States to double the tariffs on foreign products made with American materials? That should lead these money-hungry business executives to leave their American plants open. I, for one, wouldn’t mind paying an extra buck or two for a product proudly made in America by Americans.

As far as my individual wants, basically all I want for Christmas is the “Talladega Nights n the Legend of Ricky Bobby” CD and time off to spend with family, fondly watching those loving faces light up as they tear into their presents. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have a plate full of ham, turkey, gravy, ‘tater salad, chicken salad, a bowl of corn and butter beans and enough sweet tea to float a battleship.

Happy Trails,

Your pal Cal