GK: Some persistent questions about Christmas are still waiting for answers and I haven't been looking for them ---- mostly I do intelligence work for various people who are going to Christmas parties and need to know the name of their nephew's son-in-law and who is the woman with Uncle Fred, are they just friends or what is going on ----- Midwesterners don't like to ask blunt questions, they need to hire a private eye ---- so that's what I do, I ask, Are your cousin and his wife separated or are they just leading busy complicated lives. And then a guy came in whose house had been broken into.

TR: He was an old guy and it was in the middle of the night. I heard a clatter on the lawn and looked out and there he was.

GK: Well, other people have reported something similar in that

neighborhood. Was he dressed in fur from his head to his


TR: He was. He looked like a peddler.

GK: With a pack----

TR: Right.

GK: Backpack?

TR: Bigger than that. White beard.

GK: What about his eyes?

TR: What about them?

GK: Did they twinkle?

TR: I don't remember.

GK: Did he have dimples?

TR: It was too dark to see.

GK: Wasn't there a moon out?

TR: Yeah, so?

GK: A moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow?

TR: A moon on the what?

GK: Cheeks?

TR: Red.

GK: Like roses?

TR: You could say that.

GK: And his nose?

TR: Well, that's what was odd. He had a cherry on his nose.

GK: On his nose? Stuck to his nose?

TR: It was on his nose. A cherry. A red one. And his finger was stuck up his nose.

GK: He had his finger up his nose?

TR: That's what I said.

GK: It wasn't laid alongside his nose?

TR: How would you lay your finger alongside your nose?

GK: I'm just quoting what another witness said.

TR: His finger was in his nose.

GK: Okay. Was he smoking?

TR: A pipe.

GK: And it was lit?

TR: Had a wreath of smoke around his head.

GK: It encircled his head?

TR: That's what I said.

GK: Like a wreath.

TR: Right.

GK: So it was green?

TR: What?

GK: The wreath.

TR: No. It was smoke. It was grayish white.

GK: I never heard of a grayish white wreath.

TR: Then you've never met an interior decorator.

GK: You're right.

TR: They do 'em in all sorts of colors. Blue, pink, black, grayish white, whatever goes with your color scheme.

GK: Okay. Was he laughing?

TR: The guy who came in my living room?

GK: Oh, he's in your living room now?

TR: Not now but he was.

GK: How'd he get in?

TR: Walked in the door. We never locked our doors. We will now, believe me-----

GK: So was he laughing?

TR: He was sort of laughing. Chuckling anyway. Not a big belly laugh. More like snorts.

GK: And what about his belly?

TR: What about it?

GK: Was it big?

TR: It was fat.

GK: Did it shake?

TR: When he chuckled it did.

GK: What did it shake like?

TR: It shook like a bowl of Jell-O.

GK: Anything else?

TR: Shook like a tree in the wind.

GK: Anything else of an edible nature?

TR: Shook like a milkshake?

GK: Never mind. So he was fat----

TR: He was chubby.

GK: And plump?

TR: That, too.

GK: Did he say anything?

TR: No.

GK: Not a word?

TR: Not a word.

GK: And that's when he put the stuff in the stockings.

TR: That's right.

GK: Christmas gifts?

TR: No.

GK: Lumps of coal?

TR: Why would he put lumps of coal in a stocking?

GK: Well, the legend is that he knows who's been naughty or nice.

TR: And the coal is for bad people?

GK: That's the legend.

TR: Well, he didn't leave lumps of coal. He left a brochure for chimney inspection and a menu for a Chinese take-out restaurant.

GK: Chimney, huh. Tell me, did he land on your roof?

TR: No, he walked across the lawn.

GK: Across the new-fallen snow.

TR: Right. Walked over to his bike and got on it and rode away.

GK: So he didn't go to the top of the porch or the top of the wall?

TR: We don't have a porch. Or a wall.

GK: And did he exclaim anything?

TR: Like what?

GK: Like, "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."?

TR: He said something like, "You guys got enough stuff. Why don't you try sharing some with other people?"

GK: No "Happy Christmas to all"?

TR: He was sort of cranky.

GK: Okay. Well, thanks. You've given us a lot to go on.

TR: You think they'll catch him?

GK: I doubt it. How was the take-out?

TR: The shrimp in garlic sauce was good, the green curry was a little spicy.

GK: Okay. Merry Christmas.

TR: Same to you. (BRIDGE)

GK: So a persistent question persists. And the business about the birth of the child, the star, the shepherds, all of that ---- we still don't know everything we'd like to know. You get to my age, you realize you're never going to find all the answers. You wasted too much of your life trying to be someone you're not. Now you are who you are and no smarter for it. My feeling is that whatever gets people to think about other people and not just themselves ---- I'm in favor of. So merry Christmas.