Neighbor: Gordon becomes Santa

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 8, 2000

Features Editor

Dec. 7, 2000 10 PM

Every year Bob Gordon undergoes a metamorphosis.

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The very minute he dresses all in red from his head to his toes, he becomes – Santa Claus!

Not unlike the comic book syndrome whereby mere mortals are turned to super heroes with the waving of a cape, Gordon becomes the Super Santa of Christmas.

It all began about 17 years ago when Gordon’s beard turned as white as Christmas snow, so he tossed away his razor and let his white whiskers grow. During the transformation, he actually became Santa Claus.

Gordon was a Texan when he was first called upon to impersonate the Jolly Ol’ Elf at an office party. He had a blast. And, since the borrowed Santa suit didn’t have to be returned until after the weekend, Gordon decided to wear it while caroling with a group of friends.

"It was such a delight to see the little children’s eyes light up when they came to the door and saw Santa Claus," Gordon said.

The spirit of Christmas danced right from the children’s eyes into the heart of Bob Gordon and he was no longer Santa’s helper he was Santa Claus.

Now, every October when children are getting all dressed for Halloween, Gordon begins to "put on" his Santa face.

"It usually takes me from October until the first of December to make the complete metamorphosis," Gordon said, stroking his Santa-like beard. "I like being Santa Claus because I just enjoy little children. They are so sweet and you never know what they are going to do or say."

Most of the little children who climb on Santa’s knee are true believers and want to hug Santa and have him hug them back and tell him what they want from Christmas.

"Very seldom do I have one to pull my beard," Gordon said. "Sometimes, one of the older boys will give it a tug and, to their surprise, it’s real!"

Santa Bob makes believers out of many doubting boys and girls because he’s as real as Santa can be.

"I think it’s all right for children to believe in Santa Claus," Gordon said. "Of course, I think we should emphasize the real meaning of Christmas more than we do but, for little children, Santa Claus adds wonder to the season. To me, there is nothing wrong with that."

Gordon said when his son, Michael, was about 5 years old, he came home and announced that there was no Santa Claus.

"I told him that if you believe there is a Santa, there is a Santa Claus. If you don’t believe there is a Santa, then there is not," Gordon said.

Michael Gordon decided he believed.

And, Santa Bob said most children do want to believe.

"The other day I was at Troy Elementary School and, even though I had on my street clothes, I had the Santa beard," Gordon said. "Several young boys were watching me and I heard one of them say, ‘Santa Claus,’ and then he said it a second time. I turned around and said, "Ho! Ho! Ho!" You’re right. They went down the hall with big smiles on their faces – and wanting to believe, I’m sure."

Gordon has already made several appearances as Santa this year and the children have brought laughter and joy to his life. In fact, one little girl, "cracked me up."

She climbed on his knee at the radio station and stayed for a rather long time because she had a rather long list of wishes.

"Finally, she stopped and I thought she was through," Gordon said. "Then she said, ‘I have one more thing. I want mama to lay an egg so I can have a baby sister.’ I cracked up. We all cracked up."

Christmas through the eyes – and mouth – of a child can be very memorable – and entertaining."

Gordon said he is looking forward to being Santa Claus several more times before Christmas Eve. He will be at WTBF-Radio on the downtown square in Troy from 9 a.m. until 11, Dec. 9, and from 1 until 3 p.m., Dec. 16.

He invites all good little boys and girls to stop by and visit with him, and, if they doubt he’s for real, one quick tug on his beard and Santa will holler, "Happy Christmas to you!"