I’ve been excited about this issue starting way back last spring, when I met Paul Akert, aka “The Storytelling Santa,” at a party. Even in a short-sleeved shirt, he still looked like Kris Kringle. When he revealed that he had been schooled in the art of Santa Claus-ing, I knew we had to do a story on him, which you’ll find on page 25. I have always loved Santa. As a kid, I held onto my belief in him long after my peers lost faith. This was met with a certain skepticism in my parents, who suspected that it was just a ploy to snag an extra Barbie doll or two. Well, that might have been part of it, but certainly not all. The idea of Santa just seemed unusually fun to me. It was a group fantasy that adults and children conjured together. And who knows? – he might be real.
Santa isn’t our only nod to the holidays this month. We’ve packed these pages with lots of seasonal info, including a farm that specializes in Fraser firs, some great cocktail recipes to keep you warm all winter, pointers on how to set a gorgeous table, and places to shop for unique gifts.
In addition, we profile five people, including a nun and several community leaders, who offer their advice on what we, as citizens, can do to help bridge the gap between the races. While each subject has his or her own take on the issue, a common theme is that personal involvement is the key to meaningful change. The story’s title, “Come Together,” is particularly apt for this time of year, which many consider to be the season of compassion and family tidings.
Another inspiring story in this issue is “Seven Hundred Mondays,” which chronicles a group of local women who started a book club in 1954. Today, most of the meetings take place in the retirement home where the majority of the surviving members live. In the intervening years, their personal lives and current events intermingled with the themes of what they read, forming an uncommon bond between the ladies.
Thinking about Santa prompted me to go back and re-read newspaper editor Francis Pharcellus Church’s answer to Virginia O’Hanlon’s famous query, “Is there a Santa Claus?” Church waxed eloquent for several hundred words, but what speaks to me today is this line: “Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus!”
Dreary indeed! I don’t know about you, but I still choose to believe.
‘Don’t Stop Believing’ appears in the December issue of Milwaukee Magazine.
Find it on newsstands beginning November 28, or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.
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