Dear Santa,

We hope you read all the letters that Wallowa County’s children wrote to you. Just to be sure you see them, we are publishing them all in the Chieftain this week.

You’ll notice that a lot of kids here are somewhat worried about you, Rudolph and Mrs. Claus (AKA Mrs. Claws). Perhaps it’s climate change and the fact that you are losing a lot of snow up there and the igloos that your elves work in may be melting too early in the year for them to really get much toy-making done.

Most Wallowa County kids want an assortment of toys, but they also are hoping for pets, including (lots of) puppies, kittens, cats, bunnies, horses, and ponies. Some have a more exotic bent: a talking bird, a python, a rattlesnake, and of course, an assortment of dinosaurs. We hope you are cautious about introducing these to Wallowa County families.

There are some letters full of love and pensive worry that you should pay close attention to, even though they might be beyond your magical powers to resolve. “My mom is always working so can you get her something to help her get done at work faster so she can have more time with my sis brother and me please.” And “Are the elves working? Can you help my papa with his back. Can you help me in school? Can you help my brother in school?” And “My mom is very tired at night and she still has to feed and I want something that can help her feed faster because my dad is out of town and I want to have more time with her.”

For the sake of family peace and sanity you may want to focus on just part of the wish list of others, like the girl who wants one hundred cats, and for her grandma to get her medicine. Cats seem to be on many wish lists of real and important needs. “May I please have a cat? Can my mom have a cat? Can my dad have a cat? Can my sister have a house?”

And there are a few wistful, wishful thinkers out there who are hedging their bets. “Can you please get me a baby chick or a horse with some room for it?” And “I want (my sister) to have a slime kit, a laptop, a iPhone and computer. Also $20,000,000 dollars!”  We can all relate to them.

Then there are kids with a kind and empathetic spirit, like the girl who wanted a new dog, not for herself, but for a friend who’s dog had passed away. “I feel so sorry! I am thinking that he should get a dog that looks just the same so that he can’t feel the pain,” she said.

There’s also a daredevil paleontologist who asked for “a real megladon shark, they’re huge!....Maybe you could shrink them to get them on your sled.” And what will his parents do when Santa delivers? (Megladon sharks were 30 to 60 feet long and lived 23 to about 3.6 million years ago.) Perhaps launch it into Walllowa Lake? 

As for the Chieftain, what we would like, Santa, in addition to all the above (well, maybe not the Megladon…) is lots of snow in the mountains, lots of water in our streams, no fires this summer, and lots of health and prosperity for all of us in Wallowa County. We’d also like it if you could help us all be nice and respectful to each other and set our differences aside. Maybe you could help us remember that the things that we get riled up about in the end are just things. Being kind and loving to each other is what will change our lives and others around us. Also, could you please get people to do that nice two (sometimes four)-finger hand-on-the-steering wheel wave to one another again? Hope Rudolph and all the reindeer are well and ready for their trip. We will put out some cookies for you and carrots for the reindeer. Merry Christmas to all. Your friend, the Chieftain.

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