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Requests for the Jolly Old Elf

Dear Santa:

Here at the Peabody Gazette-Bulletin office, I am glad to be writing to you again. I hope the elves have been productive and the reindeer are in great shape for their 2009 trip around the world.

As usual, I have a list of gifts that are needed in Peabody, although I must say we have had a pretty good year here, all things considered.

First of all, I am asking for a boundless supply of patience. Not for myself, Santa, as we already know I can never make that stuff stick. This supply of patience is for the people in Marion County as our county commissioners, city mayors and councils, and school boards wrestle with budget issues this year. Please help all the constituents understand our leaders are doing their best with the meager funds they have. You might also find a way to remind any complainers that we, the people, are the ones who put these folks in office in the first place.

Another group of people high on my list of those deserving a special Christmas are the many men and women who are serving in our armed forces. If you could make a quick check on those from Peabody and the surrounding area, I would feel ever so much better! Please drop off some happy dreams of home, some exuberant appreciation, and some prayers for safety from all of us who wish them well.

We have one generous unsung hero who helps Rudolph get you to our town every Christmas Eve and I would like for you check his list and bring him whatever wants. Jim Finley has been donating his time and talents for almost 10 years now to keep the electrical service up to code on the downtown Christmas lights. He has spent tons of hours trouble-shooting problem areas, making sure service to buildings and displays is adequate, and keeping the lights on so that you can find us every year. He is a wonderful volunteer, Santa, and deserves a stocking full of great stuff!

Next, I would like for you help us find some new businesses for a whole bunch of empty buildings in our downtown. Things look a bit gloomy down there this holiday season with so many blank windows in the Baker building storefronts. I know there are a couple of groups and individuals who are trying to help in this area, but if you could drop a hint or two at appropriate businesses on your travels around the country, that would be grand.

I have a rather selfish request also, Santa. I would like to have the annual newspaper subscriptions extended for my five regular readers. I want them to know how much I appreciate them.

And while we are on the subject of the newspaper, could you toss a couple of lumps of coal into the stocking of the anonymous critic who wrote that ugly letter to Patti Gaines telling her to quit putting her weekly activities in the “Milton News” column by Joyce Kyle? Yes, Santa, like you, I was absolutely flummoxed when I read the letter! We all know that is the whole purpose of the weekly correspondents’ columns — to report the social news of the folks in the area the correspondent covers. What could be plainer? Maybe when you pass over that anonymous critic’s house you could holler, “Harrumph, harrumph, harrumph ...” instead of “Ho, ho, ho …” and he or she would get the message.

If you think that is not pointed enough, could you slip a note under his or her tree explaining that the proper person to contact about newspaper content would be me rather than the person who is only contributing what is asked of her? I have a paragraph or two to share about anonymous weasels and cranky critics. Thank you, Santa.

Elsewhere in the newspaper this week are letters from some of the Peabody-Burns Elementary School students. I think you are going to want to visit those children, Santa. I believe treats for you and the reindeer are going to be stellar and abundant. Also some of our children have had a tough year through no fault of their own, Santa. I am hoping you have been keeping an eye on Peabody during the past 12 months and know which of our kids need your special attention this year. If there is any extra laughter, love, or understanding aboard your sleigh, there are some children here who sure could use it.

Thanks for all you do, Santa.

— Susan Marshall

Last modified Dec. 23, 2009

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