After Christmas is over this Santa heads south of the border to San Felipe, Baja, Mexico for the winter. His winter home is located on a lot on the Sea of Cortes, about 7 miles from the town of San Felipe. San Felipe is a fishing village of about 19,000 people and is actually a part of the Municipality of Mexicali, 100 miles north San Felipe. Many days he can watch dolphins playing and hunting in the sea or see sea lions fishing and laying about. One time he even saw a pair of whales playing right off his coast.
One of his favorite meals while down there is the Sea of Cortes Blue Shrimp, quite large and when done on a grill they are quite tasty. He has a shrimp vendor whose name is Mauricio who sells his shrimp from the back of his broken down truck in one of the nearby strip mall. Mauricio speaks a little English and one day asked Santa to come visit the children in his neighborhood. His home is in one of the poorest of the poor sections of San Felipe, named El Arroyo for the fact that it is built in a large arroyo area in town. The homes are made of pallets, cardboard and tarps. Some have old broken down RV’s or if they are lucky a cement block structure. Mauricio and I worked out a date and time for the visit because I wanted to see as many children at one time as possible. I had a lot of mini candy canes left from Christmas so I packed those up, put on my summer suit, asked Mrs Claus if she wanted to go and we set off for El Arroyo. Upon arrival we noticed about 2 dozen children all dressed up in their Sunday finest waiting in the dusty street for me. Their moms were there with cell phones for cameras. Seems no matter how poor you are you have a cell phone and a dish TV in your home. They had a broken down chair that I gingerly sat down in. Then I asked them in Spanish to make a line and come see me for “dulces” and a photo. At first they were quite shy because they had never seen Santa before. What is common for us in the states is a rarity for them in Mexico. Once the first few came then the rest got in line, laughing and giggling at the gringo with the big white beard that they wanted to touch but only a few had the nerve to do. I gave them the candy canes, took pictures with them and then noticed that more children were .That afternoon I think I saw a total of maybe 3-4 dozen children. That afternoon, once I was home and had the chance to think about what had happened, tears came running down the cheeks of this 70 year old fat guy. You see I was raised in a similar situation when I was about 4-7 years old. This Santa lived in New Hampshire with his brother, mom and step dad in a tarpaper 3 room shack, no running water, no inside toilets, just a kitchen and dining area in one room and 2 bedrooms. I thought about how far I had come in my life and how God has blessed me to be able to have this life-style and be able to put smiles on the faces of even the poorest of the poor. I thank God for giving me this calling.