Two women got in line. I recognized one from previous years - a woman with developmental disabilities who had visited me before. The other looked like she was either a fellow resident, or a counselor who had spent too much time as a "hippie."
When they finally got to me - a long line - I greeted the woman I knew asking how she was this year. The other then sat and made an unusual request: For Christmas she wanted to be be assured that she would be reincarnated.
I joked that that was not up to me. She persisted, then asked if I believed in reincarnation. I said that theological matters were not what I was about. She persisted. I said I leave such things to the "Boss," pointing up to the sky. But I added I would keep her in my prayers. She nodded and seemed satisfied.
Still not sure if she was a resident or staff.
At the end of my shift a security guard was escorting me to the changing room (security has the key to the room). We passed by people waiting in a line.
"Victoria's Secret is having a special opening tonight," the guard said with a smile. "Will you be sticking around?"
"No," I replied. "Remember, I'm a bishop."
A boy with a smirk and a naughty look in his eye sat down.
"Are you the real Santa Claus?" he asked with a knowing smile.
I gave him my standard response.
"Are you the real you?"
Hesitantly, he answered, "Ye-e-s."
"Well, I'm the real me."
He looked at my beard closely.
"You have a real beard."
"Yes. You can pull it if you like."
"Your glasses look real."
I took them off and held them so he could look through them. "They're real."
He looked at them for a moment. Then he looked a me. And then he warily told me what he wanted for Christmas.
Two brothers sat down, one on each knee. I asked what they wanted for Christmas. One started to tell me something when the other blurted, "That's what I want," and made a fist in his brother's face. Brother did no look pleased.
"Oh, that could get you on the naughty list."
They settled down and finished telling me what they wanted. Then, on a hunch, I said,"Now I'd like you to do something. Between now and Christmas, I'd like you two to work at being really nice to each other. No fighting. Is that a deal?"
They do looked at each other uneasily, then at me and one mumbled, "yes," and the other mumbled, "I'll try."
I help up my hand for a high five.
"Then it's a deal," I said firmly.
They gave me high fives.
I looked at their mother.
She mouthed, "Thank you."
Pax et bonum