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Accosted by Santa (Ret.) … a pome

Accosted by Santa (Ret.)

The other day while I was shopping for onions,
an elderly bearded man
on a motorized grocery cart for the disabled
hailed me from a distance.

He was wearing a Santa hat
and asked me if I was of “the Brotherhood of the Beard”.
Since I’ve been a greying barbudo for well over ten years
I said I guessed so and asked if he was collecting past dues.

He said that he wasn’t collecting,
but that he was a retired Santa
and used to work seasonally in Branson, Missouri
with a couple of hundred other Santas.
But since he had a hip replacement,
he was no longer an active Santa.

I mentioned my rotator cuff surgery at some length and asked him if he’d ever gone to Key West for the Hemingway Look-Alike Contest.
He had not heard of this.
I’m sure he didn’t know about the Robertson Davies Contest in Peterboro, Ontario
nor the Lev Tolstoy Contest in Я́сная Поля́на.

We parted in a jovial manner.
This was more than a trifle odd.
I thought he was a recruiter at first.

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