February 27, 2024

Letter to the Chimney Man


Dear Santa,

Let me be blunt. Do you actually exist?

This querulous query draws me, a humble divorcee, into angry arguments with some of my quasi-academic friends—not to mention all my X’s in Texas.

It’s like this. Over flagons of easy-on-the-pocket sherry in the faculty lounge, academics insist on insisting that what seems real is actually unreal and what appears to be unreal is really as real as yellow violets on April days. Therefore, they say, it doesn’t matter whether I believe in you or not, since what IS just IS.

So let me get straight to the point. It is my sincerest hope that you do exist, because I need your help.

I need a simple, yet significant, gift from you this Christmas. My very sanity is at stake.

You see I have purchased a third home on the outskirts of Sedona in the shadow of the Pink Nectar Café and its park. Now about this park, it once was the property of the city near here, but was recently purchased by the Clydesdale Horse Protecting Association. It is said that most of that breed of horse range in size from 16.2 to 18 hands and weigh between 1600 and 1800 lbs, though Ralph, my lawyer, advises me that stallions and geldings are taller and will weigh up to 2200 lbs.

Look, I don’t mind horses, and what they weigh matters not to me, so here’s the quandary. These four legged giants poop a lot so that at the end of the day, not far from my third home (the other two are in Bumble Bee), I can see huge mounds and the smell… I’ve called the city to complain but officials there say it is private land. If one desires to complain, they can call their headquarters in Belgium.

Belgium? I came here for some peace and quiet and to be away from the maelstrom of commotion in the big towns, including Brussels, Belgium.

Santa, I hope that you are still with me. I know how busy you must be. I ask you, could Satan himself in his most malevolent mood, have devised a worse combination of graft plus buncombe into a system where hundreds of millions of people receive billions in gifts for which they have little or no use, and shop-clerks wear themselves down to the bone while selling them?

Oops, sorry for the momentary outburst, it won’t happen again, but because you are a chimney man, none of that blather actually applies to you.

Anyway, there’s more to the gift I’m requesting because my neighbors refuse to leave their entertainment rooms to raise their voices with me. World-class entertainers have discovered the little park near my third home. It is whispered in the coffee houses that an event longer and louder than Woodstock is planned for next fall. Indeed, the event will be so star-filled that a small museum will be constructed so that the week long concert and cannabis competition will be recalled for future generations.

What am I supposed to do about the noise, not to mention the wacky smoke, dear Santa, because many other concerts are blowing in the wind?

Do not go away yet, my letter is far from finished.

What about the debris after all those concerts? One of my friends thinks that I should move to Arkansas on the grounds that the city refuses to listen, and the new owners live in some kind of a castle in Belgium. One of my lawyers says he hears from party planners that debris could be three feet high—up against my property.

Dear Santa, there’s more. The Belgium outfit, I am told by local plumbers, has drilled a well on the park’s property, but it is neither deep nor all that wet yet. What does that mean?

During concerts, thousands of gallons will be sucked from the shallow well so that all nearby residents won’t be able to flush their toilets. Do you read me? I won’t be able to flush any of my five toilets. What am I to do with all these dead goldfish?

So here is what I wish for Christmas! A letter in my stocking disclosing that the IRS is going to crack down on the Belgians, the Board of Health will offer the horses to Burger King, and the boys and girls from Earth First will pay a midnight visit to the park where peacefully and quietly, they’ll turn the property back to the original owners— the javelinas who will do the right thing and buy second homes in Minnesota.

Wishing you well if you are really real.

Aurora Borealis

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