I've often wondered how many people I don't know have a picture of my dad. Since he was a Towne Square Mall Santa for 16 years and a Holiday World Santa for seven, it's gotta be in the hundreds, if not thousands, right?

And because both of those locations are here in the tri-state, I've had friends either show me or post on Facebook pictures of their kids on his lap. These are the ones I can actually see.

But I'm very curious (and I'll never know) how many people around the COUNTRY have pictures of Dad.

As you can see, when he's on the beach, he is Santa Claus on vacation. The red and white shirt, the red shorts, and there's a Panama hat somewhere with a red band around it.

We all went to Gulf Shores back in 2002. It was the last family vacation we all took together--Mom, Dad, my sister, my nephews, and me.

My sister and the kids and I were all out in the ocean splashing around and noticed a long line up on the beach. A VERY long line.

I was getting over the throes of panic after a wave ripped my glasses off my face--that stupid rubber strap I bought at the gift shop was five dollars out the window--and decided to head to the shore.

Sure enough, parents and children were lined up all the way down the beach. Word had travelled fast that Santa Claus was sunning in Gulf Shores. And the next thing you know, everyone wanted a picture. And, of course, Dad happily complied. He loved being Santa Claus and got an unexpected treat when tourists started lining up to get a photo.

I mean, what a unique opportunity. Sure, it's fun to get a picture with Santa at CHRISTMASTIME. But while he's on vacation? In southern Alabama?

I'd say that's high dollar scavenger hunt material.

So, yeah, there are folks all across the country who have pictures of my dad and I will never know who they are and it isn't likely that I will ever see those photos.

And I think that's kind of cool.

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