Recently we had the annual Holiday Celebration and Anniversary event at the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park. I volunteer there and so usually am involved in this event. We started to offer pictures with Santa for young children and well behaved pets a couple of years ago and it has been a popular attraction for the park.
Usually I arrange for the photographer thru the Dona Ana Photography Club and we have a friend who volunteers his time as Santa. We ask for a small donation, which goes to the Friends Group to continue the good things they do for the park.
Things were a little different this year as there was a date/time mix up. As a result, our usually photographer was not available for the afternoon and our Santa’s helper was off knotting up a storm so we had to improvise and I ended up taking photographs and helping myself. No big deal but it made for a bit of a hectic time, especially when there were several families there at once. However, one family stands out in my mind.
There were two young boys, maybe 4 and 5, who were quiet but not afraid of Santa at all. They ran over to him, talked softly and both ended up sitting on his ample lap for the picture. When done, they ran over to their mother and i who were doing paperwork so I could send them the photo. The younger of the two boys noticed my leg and said something very softly that I could not hear in the large echo filled room. I asked him to repeat what he said and he replied “You have a robot leg” and smiled the kind of smile that makes you melt. I agreed with him and he happily went on his way.
I get a lot of young kids who stare at my prosthesis sometimes. I know it can be scary so I usually approach questions received very carefully. Yes I did once say I lost my leg in a shark attack but quickly corrected that. This boy was different. There was wonder and admiration and whimsy in his look and his voice. He made my day.