The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


December 20, 2013

Carol Stark: You better watch out, Santa; NSA sees you

— Dear Santa,

   Please be careful out there on Christmas Eve.  There are three things that could stop you and the reindeer from making it to every home on your list.

   Wind turbines, drones and the National Security Administration are a jolly fat man’s worst enemies.  I mean, if the White House isn’t willing to protect the eagles from wind turbines, it won’t waste anytime on a guy like you who isn’t pumping any money into the economy. (Your elves do work for free don’t they, Santa)?

   Watch out for drones. I don’t think you are a target, but you don’t want a nasty collision on Christmas Eve.

   It probably comes as no surprise to you, Santa, that you are being watched. Your phone conversations have been tapped and it’s likely that all the letters to the North Pole have been screened. With your talent at knowing who’s naughty and who’s nice, I’m sure the NSA would love to coerce you into sharing all your secrets with them. Resist, Santa, resist. No good could come from SantaLeaks or from the world knowing that I may or may not be routinely jaywalking when I walk out to the Globe parking lot.

   Some of my readers have been quite cranky the past few days. How do I know? Oh, they have me on speed dial. I’m not sure if it’s because of recent information about the widening earnings gap that is making everyone feel a little poorer, or if they are just worried about the Target credit card security breach. Heck, maybe they are testy because they really think “Duck Dynasty” is in A&E’s crosshairs. Whatever’s going on, could you toss some extra Christmas cheer down their chimneys. I hear your special brand of eggnog puts smiles on a lot of faces.

   Heather Grills probably didn’t put this request on her list, but the owner of Phoenix Fired Art has a great idea and I’m asking you to get behind it. Grills wants a billboard out on Interstate 44 that would direct those would-be art owners to Joplin where they now can find no end of locally made treasures. Give Heather a call, Santa. She might even have something Mrs. Claus would like for her North Pole dining room table.

   I’ve been told that Wally Kennedy, the reporter behind the Globe’s Watching Range Line and Watching Main Street columns could use some new tires. Or, at least he told me Friday that he had been burning rubber traveling up and down those two traffic corridors in search of news for his column. Check his tread, Santa.

   Last year Joplin needed more homes for residents still waiting to get back into a home after losing theirs in the 2011 tornado.

  This year, I’m asking that you deposit a load of shovels on the appropriate doorstep. What we do with them will be seen in 2014. Let’s hope we get to use them to turn dirt on a few of the projects we’ve been reporting on in this newspaper.

   A special request, Santa. During my Sunday visits to my mother at St. Luke’s Nursing Home, I’ve had the occasion to meet a resident named Johnny who has a lovely tenor voice. He doesn’t talk much, but instead prefers song. I heard him singing a rendition of “Joy to the World,” that was about as sweet as anything I’ve heard. Stop by and say hello to Johnny.  Maybe you could introduce him to a few more songs.

  In fact, put those who are the caretakers of the elderly and the infirmed way up on your list. Their jobs are difficult, but certainly not thankless.  Those of us who depend on them to take care of our loved ones can’t thank them enough.

 As for me, Santa,  blue skies, clean air and new hiking trails would be much appreciated. There’s not much better gift, than a day with nature.

 Here’s hoping the stars will light your way, Santa, as you bring that special magic to children of all ages across the world.

 And peace and joy to you, dear readers, and a Merry Christmas.



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