I saw Santa Claus yesterday at the mall. He was looking a little forlorn and a bit older for the wear. I assumed it was due to the economy and the fact that he had to cut back on the elf staff as a result of inflationary concerns. Mrs. Claus wasn’t with him and I just assumed that she had to abandon the kitchen and parlay her talents into the workshop with the diminished staff of elves. I sauntered over to him, a bit wary as I viewed the walking staff that he was holding, fearing he may just want to use it on me. I don’t know why. Perhaps I’ve been a bad boy this year. I’m not aware of any blatant misdeeds but then again, he may have had a conversation with my wife. So I just came out and asked him, “Santa, why the despondent look? Is it the economy or just the fact that so near Christmas Day you’re just worn out, my good man? ” He looked me directly in the eye, stiffened his shoulders and straightened up above my six foot figure. “Larry, it’s neither of those. I wish it were so easy. The fact is that every time I come to western Pennsylvania I’m burdened with the same dreary weather and cloudy skies,” he said. “Every time I venture out this way I check accuweather and I find that you people can boast of over three hundred cloudy days each and every year. It doesn’t get more depressing than that.” And with the turn of his head, he walked away and mounted his sleigh. Calling out to his reindeer, he brandished a smile. I heard him yell, Donner and Blitzen, Dasher and the rest, up and away, and on to Key West.