One of my favorite restaurants is the little hole-in-wall place named Corsino’s on South Court Street in Montgomery.  Wonderful Italian food.  I’ve been going there for at least 40 years and Don and Myra Corsino are great friends.  So good in fact that 13 years ago they opened on a Saturday night (which they never do) so I could celebrate my 60th birthday with friends from around the south.

I popped in today for a meatball sandwich.  Their youngest son, his wife and daughter Ella were also there.  Ella is six.

As I sat by myself, I noticed that Ella was keeping a close eye on me.  In a bit Dale, her daddy, came over and told me that Ella recently asked him what Santa does when it is not Christmas.

(Here I need to set the stage.  One morning last fall I did not shave, nor the next morning nor the next.  Soon I had a face full of very gray hair.  Which I still have even though I am not especially fond of beards.  And over the years of eating at Corsino’s too many times, among other places, my waistline has steadily expanded.  So now you see where this is going.)

Come to find out that when I walked in, Dale told daughter Ella that Santa sometimes takes a break from toy making and eats with grandma and grandpa.  Which explained her keeping an eye on me.

As I got up and headed to the cash register, Ella dashed out the door.  Grandma Myra doubled over laughing and telling me, “She doesn’t want to know if you are Santa or not.”

No Ella, I am not Santa.  Though I might be if I could.  And thank you for making an old guy smile and remembering for a few moments that in spite of all the “bad stuff” our lives seem to revolve around so much, the innocence of a child can sometimes wash it all away.