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End of the Semester and the Myth of Santa Claus

December 5, 2006

I haven’t written in a couple of weeks, and don’t have a huge amount to say right now, except that it’s the last week of classes here and things are typically busy. I’m doing one-on-one conferences with my composition students, and my Intro to Lit and Literary Vampire students are working on final papers/projects (at least in theory).

It’s a head-down, in-the-bunker sort of mentality, but it’s kind of nice in a hold-your-breath-it’ll-be-over-soon way. And it means renewal for the next semester, which is what winter is all about. Academia is full of comforting cycles.

So, at work I’m moving classes towards the final hurdles, working with advisees who didn’t meet with me three weeks ago during registration and now realize all the classes they want are full, and working on a proposal I’m hoping to send to a publisher before the break.

We have a really short break at UMary–two weeks is all we get. So I’ll unfortunately have to do some planning for spring courses while I’m in the Carolinas. But it won’t be -20 outside while I’m doing it, as it was here last week (at least with the wind chill factored in).

At home we’re being Christmasy. Gwyn and I have always been Christmas geeks, heathen Buddhists that we are notwithstanding, and there are trees and lights and music aplenty in the Ridenhour home. Santa will come early, so that we can travel without carrying Santa loot with us. Ian and Eva are quite stoked.

Ian’s stoked even though he’s finally rooted out the truth. At 6, he’s used logic to debunk Santa Claus. He asked us point-blank whether the man was real, and gave empirical evidence that he couldn’t be. He’s seen reindeer at the Bismarck Zoo, and feels that flight is unlikely. He’s doesn’t get the mechanics involved in an around the world trip in one night. And, most convincingly for him, he’s watched the National Geographic “Polar Prowl” DVD about a hundred times, and therefore has seen video footage of the North Pole with nary an elf or toy factory to be seen.

Confronted with such thorough research, we came clean. Ian prefaced the discussion by saying that he really didn’t care either way–he thinks of family at Christmas, and not Santa–he just wanted to know the truth. And he promised to help keep the magic alive for Eva. All in all a well-played childhood landmark on both sides, but still a little sad from our perspective.

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