Christmas for Berkshire notables
It was incredible. There we were, just walking down the street in front of Fuel, the coffee shop in Great Barrington — me and Murray, the world’s cutest dog, who was taught to speak and write English at the Literacy Network of South Berkshire. Suddenly Murray, who at times of great excitement has been known to revert to his mother tongue (Dog) started to whimper, making those crying sounds that can tear your heart out.
Concerned, I looked down at him and said, “Murray, what’s up?”
“Pops,” he said, “It’s HIM!”
“Who, Murray, who?”
“I’ve never seen Murray so excited.”
“Over there, pops — the fat guy in the business suit. It’s — it’s Santa!”
I looked to my right and there, standing by a bench, was old Kris Kringle himself. Oh, he didn’t have on the funny suit or the hat, but it was Santa, complete with his ruddy complexion and a wonderful smile. He was wearing sunglasses to disguise himself.
“Santa!” I yelled out.
“Shhhhhh,” hushed Santa. “Do you want a mob over here?”
And then he astonished me by saying, I’ve been watching you for years, Chartock. I know when you’ve been bad or good.”
“You know, this is quite a scoop,” I responded. “My boss the editor says that I should let him know when I see real news. So can I ask you a few questions?”
“No,” said the Christmas icon.
“Oh, yeah? I’m taking a picture with my cell phone right now and off it goes to the Eagle unless you answer my questions.”
“Well if you put it that way. Just be quick about it.”
“All I want to know is what you are giving to some of our top citizens. ”
“All right: You name them, and I’ll answer.”
“Representative Smitty Pignatelli.”
“I’m getting him a chauffeur to drive him over to the legislature. I really worry about all that driving.”
“Senator Ben Downing?”
“I thought I’d get him some ambition.”
“Oh, I’ll get him some pork.”
“Mayor Jim Ruberto.”
“I’ll get him more consulting time from that wonderful Mayor Barrett.”
“A green newspaper.”
“You know, he’s a very powerful figure with a lot of friends and a real knowledge about government. I think I’ll get him a job as a lobbyist.”
“How about the man who defeated him for sheriff, Tom Bowler”
“Oh, that’s easy. I’ll get him something to deliver on since he made so many promises during the campaign.”
“District Attorney David Capeless?”
“I’m going to help him solve that murder in Stockbridge.”
“What about the Great Barrington Board of Selectmen?”
“I’ll inject a few more gray cells into each of them so they will have the wisdom to compromise with the united town merchants who really can’t afford two years of having the town torn up.”
“Jane Iredale of Iredale Cosmetics?”
“I love that woman,” said Santa. “She really walks the walk. She doesn’t just talk about making jobs; she actually does it, with incredible style and grace. I’m going to make sure that the Great Barrington Highway Department sands the road and sidewalk around her house. We can’t have her slipping on the ice.”
“Nancy Fitzpatrick of the Red Lion Inn and Country Curtains?”
“What a wonderful human being. Like her father and mother, Jack and Jane, she is always there to help. Think of all that these people have done to help all of us,” said Santa. “I’m going to give her some elves to help her and Laurie Norton Moffatt of the Norman Rockwell Museum with their new ‘Berkshire Creative’ project. You people in Berkshire County have no idea how much the arts and the business community intertwine with each other. You have to capitalize on that.”
“Kate Maguire of the Berkshire Theatre Festival and the Colonial Theatre?”
“Oh, I’ll find her something to do in her spare time.”
“But what about Mom?” asked little Murray.
Santa picked the little dog up and Murray licked his face as you or I might an ice cream cone.
“Murray, you are one great little dog,” he said. “How would you like to come home with me to the North Pole? I was going to send your mom three dozen roses to celebrate her retirement from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, but someone else beat me to it,” he said, glaring at me.
“Now I’ll have to think of something else. You know, Murray, your father really doesn’t deserve her.”
“Yeah, I know,” said little Murray,”but I’d never leave my momma.”
Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 12/18/10