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Posed on the Lap

November 24, 2004

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There were a few years there in the beginning where they were too young for these things, bewildered babies alarmed to find themselves on the lap of a bearded man in a red suit who smells like roast beef. Then there are a few years where it all fits just right: they believe this is really Santa, that he will listen and toys will be delivered. One year, the questions come, and then just as suddenly, they stop. There are no more questions about why the Santa at Coddingtown looks slightly different from the one at Santa Rosa Mall. They have bought into the ritual, they smile for the camera, and speak loudly enough when telling Santa what they want, so that the parents watching from the sidelines can listen and note.