Astute readers of the Curry Coastal Pilot might have noticed that Santa Claus was spending more than his fair share of time in Brookings in recent weeks.

Why, just last Saturday alone he was spotted at three places at around the same time. He's scheduled to be at three different locations this afternoon in Gold Beach!

Impossible? Not if you know Santa.

Long-time readers of this column know that Santa and I are close buddies. In fact, we were fishing together at Social Security Bar this week - his red sleigh makes a great drift boat! And he caught a 40-pound Chinook.

"That should keep the elves fed for a week," he said in his trademark booming voice.

Not one to miss an opportunity, I interviewed Santa as we drifted slowly down the Chetco River.

Q: Why are you hanging out so much in Brookings?

Santa: I love Brookings! The fishing is great this time of year and it's much warmer than the North Pole. In fact, each year I find it harder to go back to the hustle and bustle of the workshop. All the toy making, chittering elves and never-ending lists of Christmas wishes. Oy! Coming to Brookings is a great escape.

Q: Do you think you'll move here?

Santa: It's possible. I just bought a second home, and I'm thinking of moving the whole toy operation here. My consultants were looking at some property at the corner of Railroad and Wharf streets but Bi-Mart beat us to the punch.

Q: Having your workshop in Brookings would help boost the local economy.

Santa: How? Do any elves live in Brookings?

Q: Uh, no. You only employ elves?

Santa: Correctomundo!

Q: How about short people with pointy ears?

Santa: Nope. It has to be the real deal.

Q: Darn!

Santa: Hee, hee, hee.

Q: So, where are the reindeer?

Santa: Hidden in a secret location.

Q: Azalea Park?

Santa: (whispering): Shhh, don't tell.

Q: So, the Pilot is getting letters to Santa from local school children for a special Holiday Greetings section going in the Dec. 25 issue.

Santa: Oh! I love that section!

Q: You've seen it before?

Santa: Yes! We have a mail subscription to the Pilot at the North Pole. Mrs. Claus loves to read the classifieds, especially the Bargain Corner. Me? I like the Letters to the Editor.

Q: Why?

Santa: Helps me keep track of who's been naughty and nice.

Q: In the letters to Santa the most popular gift requests are for iPods and video game players and other high-tech items. Any thoughts?

Santa: Well, call me old fashioned, but I'm a little concerned that children may be tuning out the real world by plugging into their iPods and playing video games too much. But then again, people once thought Elvis and the Beatles were a bad influence. So who's to say?

Q: What else is big on children's wish lists?

Santa: Bikes and skateboards, which is good, because those get the children off the couch and outside for some exercise. And puppies, too. Many puppies are going to find good homes this Christmas!

Q: The childrens' letters I've received have some great questions for you. Mind if I ask you a few?

Santa: Fire away!

Q: Is the sleigh ride scary?

Santa: It's a hoot! In fact, I take it for a spin a least once a week

all year long. I keep a barf bag available for the wee little ones

with nervous stomachs.

Q: Have you ever crashed your sleigh?

Santa: Nope. It's magic, so it never crashes. I fell out of it once andndash;

I tried to do an inverted loop-the-loop andndash; but the sleigh didn't crash.

Q: Why are the elves' ears pointy?

Santa: Well, we first thought it was because they were from Vulcan.

But we soon learned they're not that logical, so now we think they might

be Romulans.

Q: Do you really go down chimneys?

Santa: Yes. With more and more people locking their doors andndash; which can

really slow down the delivery process andndash; the chimney is the best way to


Q: One girl said her brother wants a cow for Christmas. How are you going to pull that one off?

Santa: It depends. The Jerseys are real mellow, but the Holsteins put up a fight when we try to get them in the gift sack.

Q: Have you ever thought of replacing Rudolph?

Santa: It's tempting, what with all the cool GPS technology out

there. But no. It just wouldn't be Christmas without good, old Rudy.

Plus, children are always looking for that glowing nose on Christmas


Q: Speaking of Christmas Eve. How do you get around the whole world in one night?

Santa: I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you. Ho! Ho! Ho!

Just kidding. It's possible, but some people don't think so because

scientists haven't figured it out yet.

Q: And you have?

Santa: Of course! Just think, 30 years ago nobody knew about string

theories and quantum physics. Heck, people once thought the world was

flat! One day, science will show that a man can fly around the world in

one night but, for now, it's my little secret. And I'm not telling.

Q: Fair enough. What about all the cookies and milk children set out for you? Do you eat it all?

Santa: Man, that's the best part of the job! I eat and drink most of

it, but I do share some with the reindeer andndash; the sugar rush on top of the

pixie dust kicks them into hyperdrive! I also bring some home for Mrs.

Claus and the elves.

Q: Do you have a Christmas wish list?

Santa: Certainly! I don't always get everything on my list, but that doesn't stop me from asking.

Q: What sort of things?

Santa: I want every boy and girl to be with somebody they love on

Christmas. I wish for a safe return for everyone serving overseas in the

U.S. military. I want jobs for everyone who is unemployed. Good health

for all who are sick and afflicted. Homes for the homeless and andndash;

Q: Wow! That's quite a list.

Santa: Yes. I'm the eternal optimist.

Q: That you are! Oh, look! I think there's a fish on your line.

Santa: Ho! Ho! Ho! You're right! An early Christmas present for Santa!

Q: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. It's been great. Merry Christmas!

Santa: Merry Christmas to you and all Curry Coastal Pilot readers! Now, get that net ready.