More than once, someone, almost always unknown to me, has referred to me as Santa Claus. Big man, white beard; I get it.

Interestingly, it’s usually done by women, especially young women, and it’s almost always said in December. I might have the same beard length in March, but it never engenders a St. Nick comment.

I was at my allergist back at Corporate (frickin’) Woods, where I used to work. Well do I know the bus schedule for the #737. I left the building in plenty of time to catch the 9:45 a.m. bus, but either it arrived early, or didn’t come at all. This means walking out of CW, because there’s not another bus downtown for four hours. I trudge up the hill- beware the speeding cars going down, since there’s no sidewalk and the grass is covered with snow and ice.

As I’m finally on the mostly straightaway of Albany Shaker Road, this woman, driving the opposite way from where I’m going, stops and wants to know if I’d like a ride. It was cold out, and I had maybe a mile to walk on roads with no sidewalks, so I said yes.

She was a photographer for children, sometimes with Santa Claus. She just couldn’t bear to see Santa walking, so she turned around, gave me a ride down Albany-Shaker, and just after she makes the right turn on Northern Boulevard, I see the #182 bus that would take me downtown, and she gets me to the stop, near the WTEN-TV station, just before the bus gets there.

The power of Santa Claus.

Oh, this is a picture, taken two days later, at the home of retired newsman Ken Screven, the guy front and center, with a couple of Ken’s friends, Denise and Arnelle, and a coterie of Times Union bloggers, including Chuck Miller, the guy in the plaid shirt who organized the event, Aaron Bush, Judi England, and Walter Ayres. Unfortunately, Michael Rivest had departed before the camera came out.

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