Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Santa and Caboose

I've mentioned a couple of times that we've had company. They left this morning after having been here for a week and a half, thus the almost week break in blogging. Now I get to fill you in on some of the fun things we've been doing and some fun stories.

Last Friday we went to Frankenmuth, Michigan, a small town about an hour and a half north of where we live. It has a strong German heritage, but oddly enough, is well-known for it's chicken dinners.

When you tell people you're going to Frankenmuth, or even ask them about it, they will tell you, "They have really good chicken." So here's where we ate.

Here was my plate.

Here was the competitor across the street.

It was good chicken, but I'd say second best. The chicken dinner at Rockhome Gardens in Arcola, Illinois, gets my vote for best. It's in the Amish country. Sorry, Frankenmuth. Second gets a medal though at the Olympics though.

Frankenmuth is a pretty little town with a small downtown shopping area.

Frankenmuth is also the home of Bronner's Christmas Wonderland, World's Largest Christmas Store. I'm taking their word for it. It was definitely big, the biggest I've ever seen, and I must say extremely well organized. They had the ornaments in different sections by theme (snowmen, farm, sports, etc.), and the map had each section well marked. An organizer's dream...

We had to take a picture of Santa and the grandkids by the big Santa.

Now I have to explain here that we have never done Santa with our kids. The gifts have always been from us. But we've done a breakfast with Santa, had their picture made with Santa...gosh, Santa's their Grandpa. So obviously none of the magic of the season is lost. They know what other kids think, and the only thing that's been difficult is what to answer when people ask them what they want from Santa or what Santa brought them for Christmas. So when they were younger we helped them come up with an answer that they were comfortable with — one that didn't give anything away to other kids but didn't make them feel like they were 'fibbing.' They would just say, "I got so-and-so for Christmas," or "I want so-and-so for Christmas," and then that sort of covered it.

Well, Caboose knows that Grandpa doesn't take other kids presents. He also knows that his Grandpa is Santa, and that Santa doesn't really live in the North Pole either. Santa lives in Arkansas. This, my friends, is my child that has always been my brightest at the youngest age. We have not told him any of these things. This is his magic, and we have not discouraged it.

Before Grandpa and Grandma came to visit, Buddy and Caboose were having a discussion at the table, and I happened to be sitting there as well. I don't even know what it was about, I just remember hearing something about reindeer. I told them that reindeer were real and that we'd seen them at zoos before. Caboose proceeds to say, "But they don't fly Grandpa around."

For several years Caboose has asked what will happen when Grandpa dies and who will be Santa. I tell him he might have to do it. He's not sure he will have the whiskers.

But at Bronner's the other day he really got it going. I should have been prepared, but I wasn't. First he asked me, "Was Grandpa the first Santa, or were there others before him that have already died?"

Thank goodness the next question came before I had to answer that one.

"When Grandpa dies, will they just go up to somebody and say, 'Hey, do you want to be Santa?'?" (I know I probably didn't quotation mark that right, but I'm too lazy to check it.) I told him maybe it was a Santa secret, or maybe it had to run in the family and he'd have to do it, or if he was too young and didn't have whiskers, his dad would have to do it, even though he's an in-law.

The good thing is, now Hubby can grow whiskers. See his 'playoff beard' from a month or so ago.

Because for years we've joked about how he can't grow any facial hair, except in splotches. And when the girls were about two years old, look what he did with my eyebrow pencil!

Um, you might notice it's even getting a little more of the Santa-ish color, Hubby.


Mari said...

Frankenmuth is fun and the chicken is really good! We did the same thing with our kids regarding Santa, although we didn't have a Santa for a Grandpa!

Betsy said...

I sooo enjoyed reading this! Frankenmuth sounds very fun...the chicken looks great. I agree with you that the Amish make superb chicken, though. Love all the questions about how the next Santa will come about and that Santa really lives in Arkansas! :)

Rochelle said...

I love Bronner's and have wondered about visiting Frankenmuth!

I was laughing hysterically about Caboose growing whiskers and becoming Santa perhaps. ;)

Love your take on the whole Santa thing and what you've done with it. Good for you! :)

Nancy said...

What a fun place and the food is great as Mari says. And..
Thanks for the tips on my upcoming vacation we will look into your suggestions.

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