The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

December 25, 2012

Volunteers track Santa's progress, answer calls

(Continued)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo —

After 57 years, NORAD can predict what most kids will ask. Its 11-page playbook for volunteers includes a list of nearly 20 questions and answers, including how old is Santa (at least 16 centuries) and has Santa ever crashed into anything (no).

But kids still manage to ask the unexpected, including, "Does Santa leave presents for dogs?"

A sampling of anecdotes from the program this year:

___

THE REAL DEAL: A young boy called to ask if Santa was real.

Air Force Maj. Jamie Humphries, who took the call, said, "I'm 37 years old, and I believe in Santa, and if you believe in him as well, then he must be real."

The boy turned from the phone and yelled to others in the room, "I told you guys he was real!"

___

DON'T WORRY, HE'LL FIND YOU: Glenn Barr took a call from a 10-year-old who wasn't sure if he would be sleeping at his mom's house or his dad's and was worried about whether Santa would find him.

"I told him Santa would know where he was and not to worry," Barr said.

Another child asked if he was on the nice list or the naughty list.

"That's a closely guarded secret, and only Santa knows," Barr replied.

___

TOYS IN HEAVEN: A young boy who called from Missouri asked when Santa would drop off toys in heaven.

His mother got on the line and explained to Jennifer Eckels, who took the call, that the boy's younger sister died this year.

"He kept saying 'in heaven,'" Eckels said. She told him, "I think Santa headed there first thing."

___

BEST OF: Choice questions and comments wound up posted on a flip chart.

"Big sister wanted to add her 3-year-old brother to the naughty list," one read.

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