I hope you aren’t too surprised to be hearing from me. I know it’s been a while.
I stopped believing in you in the third grade. Or at least that’s what I told everyone. Another girl was being teased mercilessly by the boys in the class because she admitted to still believing in you. I feared the same fate if I admitted it too, so I decided to deny my true feelings and go along with the crowd of those who no longer believed.
I guess, eventually, I convinced myself that it was the right decision.
In retrospect, I realize how brave that girl was.
Sometimes, I wish I could travel back to the 1971 classroom and tell the girl with the long brown braids to hold on to her belief in Santa for as long as possible, no matter how much ridicule comes her way. Believing in Santa is believing that the world still holds some magic. And, as we all learn soon enough, a world without magic is not a fun place to be.
So here I am, 42 years later, humbly writing to you again.
I’m a food writer now. But then, you probably already know that, what with your sophisticated monitoring system. I have always suspected that doesn’t end when we turn 18. (Are you completely digital now? No matter.) I do my best to keep on your “nice” list throughout the year.
I decided to write and ask for a few things this year.
A friend of mine recently told me that she only lets her children ask you for three gifts at Christmas, because the wise men only brought the baby Jesus three gifts and if that was enough for him, that was certainly enough for them. I like her sentiment, so I will hold my list to just three things as well.
Here’s what I want for Christmas:
1. I’d like a really vibrant local dining scene.
These past five years have been difficult ones for those in the restaurant business. We haven’t seen many new restaurants open up, and many of the ones that did struggled. There are chefs working hard every day to make Akron a “food town,” so anything you can do to help their efforts would be greatly appreciated.
2. It would be nice if you could get this Congress to pass a farm bill in the new year. I’m sure that this year especially, most of Congress is on the naughty list just for refusing to get along with their fellow members. I think I can speak on behalf of most Americans (or at least 92 percent if you believe in polling data) that we would have no problem if you flew right by and passed up the chimneys of all members of the House and Senate.
With the farm bill dragging on, the price of a gallon of milk hangs in the balance. I don’t think I need to explain the importance of milk prices to a cookie-eater like you, Santa. But more importantly, there is about $760 million in food assistance for poor Americans on the line. So you can see, this is very important to local families and seniors, and needs some attention.
3. I’m tempted to ask you to end world hunger, but I realize that your specialty is dolls and games, so this may be too great a task even for you, Santa. So instead, I’ll ask for something that I think would be just as good: I’d like you to stop folks from wasting food.
From the corporate farms that let produce rot in the fields when they can’t sell it for the price that they want, to folks who buy too much at the grocery store and end up throwing half of it away, I’d like to see an end to all of the waste.
I suspect that if folks learned to share their bounty, we wouldn’t even have to worry about ending world hunger. Perhaps anyone who wastes food should have a permanent spot reserved for them on your naughty list. What do you think?
Now, I know that I promised to stop at three, but just as a P.S. …
If you feel compelled to be extra generous, I’m always happy with anything marked KitchenAid, Le Creuset or Cuisinart, or even some nice chocolates in my stocking or a hunk of smelly cheese. I promise you, they won’t go to waste and I will most definitely share with others.
Until next year, fly safe and say hello to Mrs. Claus, the elves, Rudolph and all of the other reindeer. I promise I will try to be nice for all of 2014, especially to Beacon Journal readers.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!