“$1000 Reward for the arrest & conviction and the return of the 20 ft. Santa Claus.” So reads a sign on the side of the road in West Ossipee, NH. I think I can safely infer that they aren’t seeking the arrest and conviction of the 20 ft. Santa Claus, just its return, and the reward is for the apprehension of the perpetrator. But all this begs the question, who would steal a 20 ft. Santa Claus? And how in blazes would they go about it?
I frequently take Rte 16 heading to the North Country, my goal generally being to hike in the White Mountains (see previous blog; also my article in 6/12/11 Concord Monitor). Interstate 93 is a whole lot quicker. Rte 16 winds through small towns and speed traps, and the dreaded commercial bottleneck of North Conway. But you see a lot more than you would roaring along on the highway. Things like that sign in West Ossipee.
Every time I pass it I wonder what became of the 20 ft. Santa Claus. There’s a modest little stand in the parking lot where the sign is, selling vegetables and ice cream and what-not in season. I expect Santa was a great attention-getter for them. Something I’d definitely notice. No doubt he is sorely missed, hence the substantial reward for his return.
But, damn, stealing a 20 ft. Santa? You’d think someone would notice a truck backing up to the jolly effigy, especially a truck big enough to hide such a thing. You’d look pretty conspicuous tooling down the road in a pick-up with St. Nick bungeed down in the back. And once you scored your prize, then what? You can’t really display it, or else the real owner is likely to spot it and yell, “Son of a bitch, there it is! My 20 ft. Santa Claus! Call the sheriff!” So, what do you do with it? Can’t put it up in your house unless you have serious cathedral ceilings. Do you sell it on the black market? I wonder what the going price is on a Santa big enough to house a family of four?
As of my last trip up north, the Big Guy is still wanted and at large. If anyone out there reads this and thinks, “Holy smokes! My brother-in-law was bragging about the 20 ft. Santa he’s got in his back yard!” then drop a tip to the West Ossipee police. There’s a reward.