I have a personal story about serendipity, Santa Claus and my dad. I’ll tell it through the eyes of my husband and myself. Everything we are going to share is true – believe me, you cannot make something like this up. (The story is a little long but worth reading and seeing the picture at the end.)
Sharon’s dad and I loved photography. Our favorite subjects were lighthouses and freighters. Living in Michigan with access to the Great Lakes gave us a tremendous variety of subjects to photograph and places to explore.
On one of our day trips we drove to East Tawas on Lake Huron, which is home to the East Tawas Lighthouse. The day was fairly normal. Dad was doing his thing and I was doing mine. We headed in different directions and didn’t see each other for an hour or longer. When my stomach started to rumble I decided to find dad and head out for some lunch.
I asked dad if he was ready for lunch and he said he was. Then he nodded in the direction of two women with cameras and said that they had asked him if they could photograph him. I asked him what he said. He told me he said, “Sure if you want to waste your film.” That was dad, always a witty remark. We both thought it was unusual that the women would want to photograph him, but we quickly forget about it and headed off to have lunch.
Fast forward from the end of Oleg’s story maybe two or three years. I was booked to speak to at woman’s conference being held at a local hotel located about two miles from our house. This hotel was nowhere near East Tawas or Lake Huron. In fact, it was miles from the East Tawas Lighthouse.
There were various vendors setting up their tables of products. There were tables of skin care, candles, books, and other products for sale. I was also offering my books so we had a table too. At the table across from ours a woman began setting up her artwork – they were handmade one of a kind unique holiday decorations.
I didn’t think much about it and decided I’d visit her table as soon I got myself settled. As I looked over again, a Santa Claus figure sitting on tree stump caught my attention. I thought Santa looked vaguely familiar.
I walked up to the table and stopped in my tracks – I couldn’t do anything but stare at the Santa’s face. It looked just like my dad. Really, just like my dad. The same blue eyes, same glasses, same wrinkles and almost the same beard.
I quickly found Oleg and brought him over to her table without telling him why. He stopped in his tracks and said, “That Santa looks just like dad!”
I looked at the artist, who was a woman about my age. I told her how much the Santa resembled my dad and in fact, it was uncanny. Did she live in the area and could she have known him from somewhere? No, she didn’t live in the area and was here just to participate in the conference.
Then she began to tell us how she created her unique holiday Santa’s. When she saw interesting faces that she thought would make a good looking Santa, she’d ask to take a picture of them. I said, where did you take a picture of this Santa? She said at a lighthouse on Lake Huron. Oleg looked surprised and asked, “Do you mean at East Tawas?” She nodded her head yes.
The artist said the man and his son-in-law were there to take pictures of lighthouses. It was my dad! Santa was my dad.
Who would have imagined we would be at that place, at that time, and meet the artist who took a picture of my father and created a look alike Santa Claus?
Needless to say, we bought the Santa immediately. The artist said he would be one-of-a-kind. Every Christmas we brought out Santa Dad to place on our coffee table and every Christmas Oleg and dad would tell the story of Santa Dad.
When dad passed away eleven years ago I stopped bringing out Santa Dad because it made me sad. Last week Oleg found Santa Dad among our decorations and placed him on the coffee table. Looking at dad’s face didn’t make me sad, it made me smile and remember all the happy Christmas moments we shared together. Here’s to my Santa Dad.
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