• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Santa brings hugs and high fives

CHLOE  DEWEESE, right, watched baby sister Kensington have her first visit with Santa Claus at the Cornerstone Pharmacy on Dec. 11. A few seconds later, despite Santa’s best efforts, Kensington decided she’d had enough. The visit was part of an annual tradition there. (Photo by John McGary)

Editor’s note: This story was intended to run in last week’s Woodford Sun. We apologize for the delay, but believe the Christmas spirit is alive and well in Woodford County a few days after Santa’s big day.

Eleven days before Christmas, Santa Claus came to town. That is to say, Santa renewed an annual tradition at the Cornerstone Pharmacy, spending time with children from nearby preschools and the deli/pharmacy employees he’s known for years.

He arrived at 11 a.m., bearing a passing resemblance to Gary Dowell, a longtime Cornerstone customer with a real beard and red suit and hat he wears around this time of year.

When he walked in, eight children from Versailles Presbyterian Church seemed to forget about the milk and cookies they’d been served a few minutes earlier.

The preschool staff wasn’t surprised by the kids sudden disinterest in the treats, according to assistant teacher Susie Stivers.

“Oh yeah – we’ve been on fire this morning. ‘Is it time? Is it time?’ We’ve done a lot of dancing and singing this morning,” Stivers said. “We have made ornaments and special parent gifts, but the highlight of the day is Santa.”

“He just loves playing Santa,” said deli manager Dixie Lowe, adding that in past years, when it’s snowed, Mr. Claus went to the pre-schools instead.

Lowe said he’s also had to deal with requests that even he can’t (or shouldn’t) grant, such as a new baby sister or brother.

“And we say, maybe that’s up to Mom and Dad. I don’t know if Santa can bring those,” she said, laughing.

After greeting the wide-eyed children, Santa beckoned them to the rocking chair near the pharmacy where he sat.

The first to do so was Cameron Hill, who’d been appointed line leader for good behavior.

Santa asked his age, and Cameron held up four fingers.

“You’re four years old? How many is that? Tell me – you can tell me,” said Santa.

This time, Cameron replied verbally.

“Do you know what you want for Christmas?” Santa asked. Cameron said he didn’t know yet.

“Well, you know what? You’ve got plenty of time. Yeah? We’ve got some time,” Santa said.

Santa asked Cameron if he had any questions, such as the present location of his reindeer and elves. He didn’t.

“Well, I tell you what. Santa has a couple of things I want you to do for me, okay? I always want you to listen to your parents. I want you to work hard in preschool. And I want you to be cool. And you know how Santa knows if you’re cool? You give him a high five or a knuckles. Which one do you like?” Santa asked.

Cameron settled for a high five, and Santa wished him a very merry Christmas.

He told one girl he admired her dress, which had a picture of him on it. He suggested another might want a new tooth for Christmas, but she begged to differ.

All of the kids save one wary girl took their turns on Santa’s lap or at his side. Some knew what they wanted and others didn’t, but all departed with advice on being good sons and daughters and students – and how to give a good fist bump or high five.

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