Sitting on Santa Claus’ lap Saturday morning at the Vilonia Senior Citizens Center, some kids giggled, some cried, some talked and others remained frozen, unable to remember what they’d hoped to tell Mr. Claus.
Yet, one was prepared. Seven-year-old Shelby Osborne brought her list and read it aloud twice to the white-haired man. Afterward, she left it with his elf. Clayton Raeburn didn’t forget either. He told Santa all he wanted for Christmas is a duck call.
"That’s all," he concluded. When asked if he hunts, he said not yet but "I will when I get my duck call."
Santa remarked that he must be a fan of Duck Dynasty. A confirmation, he said he thinks that Uncle Si is "just too funny."
Most of the other kids had multiple requests including four-wheelers, bikes, airplanes, cars, cell phones, iPads, dolls, Elf on a Shelf and American Girl dolls.
Fielding requests for gifts from small to big, Santa told the kids most of their requests seemed manageable for him and his elves.
The Santa visit was sponsored by the Vilonia Fire Department — just a way for them to be more involved in the community, said fire chief Keith Hillman. A way to make some "positive connections," he added. Several firefighters were on hand. Some were working in the kitchen, cooking and serving up a free breakfast for the parents and children in attendance that made it to the event held from 8-11 a.m.
Santa told those with inquiring minds that he enjoys his visits to Vilonia because of the number of farms available for parking his reindeers. They were parked Saturday, he said, at a nearby farm resting and eating his hay in preparation to continue his trek around the U.S. making appearances.