Oh my goodness… Off the chart adorableness occurred just a while ago and I rushed back so I could share it before I forgot a single detail.
Today I went for a sushi fix to my usual haunt Sushiland in Clackamas. It’s right next to the DMV. It’s a busy place. I was seated next to a little girl of oh, no more than four or so, I’m not sure. She was on my right, and her mother was one seat over. She was the picture of cuteness. She had blonde hair put up into two little pigtails on the top of her head, and they simply both coiled into two perfect curls. She had wide, grey-blue eyes rimmed with startlingly dark lashes. She wore an eggplant coloured jumper over an off-white turtleneck and ivory tights. She had tiny leather mary-janes of brown leather, and a deep red pea-coat was draped over the back of her chair. I immediately thought that mommy dressed her very well.
She was fidgety as the little ones can be. She was unabashedly eating some shrimp and salmon nigiri with her fingers, looking about as she chewed thoughtfully. She was very chatty and engaging. She asked me a billion questions, about the colours and shapes of my keychains to silly questions about my cell phone, and she asked to try on my gloves, which I allowed her to do despite her sticky hands. She chatted with mom, she chatted with me and continued to eat.
And then it happened. He came. He was seated on my left. He was a large older man, round of belly and white of beard. In fact… he kind of looked a lot like this guy:
…except he was wearing a red Big Dog t-shirt and a coordinating flannel over it with jeans, and a pair of Carhartt boots. He had dried paint on his shoulder. But heck if he did not look exactly like Santa, down to the neatly groomed beard. He even wore oval framless glasses, no kidding.
And for a second there was quiet as he took the little sauce dishes and filled one with a little soy sauce and a lot of wasabi and the second with yummy pickled ginger. And then I saw a certain little face sliding into my field of vision from the corner of my eye, slowly moving forward to look around me. I leaned back a bit, and she kept staring and leaning in to get a better look at him.
Then she whispers very loudly to me but it can be heard by anyone within range: “Is that Santa?”
I whisper back: “Maybe. You should ask.” Her mother is smirking and of course this scene is not missed by the two or three other people on each side of our foursome; more people who are charmed by this suppress charmed grins.
“Are you Santa?” she calls out much louder. The bearded gentleman leans forward so he can see her and replies in a rich baritone,
“Maybe, maybe not.”
“What are you doing here?” she quickly responds, taking his ambiguous response as a resounding yes. It’s a good question; what is Santa doing here, he’s got so much to do? It’s already so close to Christmas!
“I was doing some chores and thought I’d have lunch.”
“You like sushi?”
“I do” He replies. “Just like you.” She smiles broadly.
“You’re doing chores?” she asks, anticipation in her voice.
“Yes. I had some things to do today,” he replies; all patience and sweet, kind-hearted indulgence.
“Are you getting presents?”
“Yes, actually.” The sushi place is in a promenade of shops. “I also had to get my driving license renewed,” he added, speaking very slowly and deliberately.
“Driving?” she repeats, eyes wide. “To drive the sleigh?” she then blurts. At that point nobody could resist the cuteness overload anymore and a cacophony of chuckles just exploded along the line of chairs at the sushi bar.
“Maybe. Maybe not,” he was his answer, his cheeks quite rosy. I swear to you, the guy somehow contrived a freakin’ twinkle in his eye. You should have seen her face. They left not long after and she called out while waving her free hand emphatically: "Bye Santa!" as her mother led her by.
I was charmed right out of my Børns. Seriously, that's just bizarre. I thought I had stumbled inadvertently onto the set of some really sickeningly saccharine Christmas movie or something. Disgustingly cute.