As we enter the Christmas season, I would like to share some words of advice for grandparents of a 2-year-old: do not, under any circumstances, watch the Tim Allen movie “The Santa Clause,” especially just hours after visiting the real Santa.

Daughter Jamie, son-in-law Justin, grandsons Jayce (5) and Jacob (2) and I went to Williams for a train day-trip to the Grand Canyon and then the North Pole in Flagstaff. We arrived in Williams Thanksgiving night, right before an historic blizzard fell, power went off, and all roads were closed.

On Friday morning we rolled out of the depot amid still-falling snow. A tree fell on the passenger car in which we were traveling on the way up, we stopped another three or four times so the workmen could wipe snow from the train’s windshield because the blades could not keep up, then could not get off the train at the Grand Canyon because it also had a blackout (no power, no bathrooms, no food, no cleared walkways).

After a five-hour wait, the engine shorted out on the way back, causing the company to send out a rescue engine. The conductor announced the additional long wait by saying, “Does anyone know what I am referencing when I say Donner party?”

By the time we made it back, power had been restored in Williams, and at 10 p.m. we had our first real food. Gummy bears only go so far, you know.

The next morning, we were off to the North Pole Experience in Flagstaff. Highway 40 had been cleared, sort of, and we made it to see Santa. We then drove back to my family’s home in Chandler without incident. I explain all this so you do not judge me on how I reacted to a 2-year-old’s questions. My nerves were already shot.

That night, I was babysitting Jayce and Jacob and before she left, Jamie put on the Santa Clause movie. Shortly after it started, Santa fell off the roof and was buried in the snow before disappearing.

“Where Santa? Where Santa?” Jacob asked repeatedly. In fact, I think he asked 1,218 times. None of my answers sufficed to stop the inquires. My explanation that he was taking a nap, or had gone to Denny’s for breakfast now that the Grand Slam had returned at a reasonable price, or he was visiting relatives at the Arctic Circle, did not satisfy him.

To make it worse, Charlie – the family’s Elf on a Shelf – had made an appearance while we were gone and was sitting on a bank shaped like a football on their bookshelf when we entered the home, dragging tons of suitcases and enough winter clothing to cover a 10-day trip to the Himalayas. Wouldn’t you know that the kid in the movie was named Charlie, just like their elf? Just about every time someone mentioned the kid by name, Jacob would add to his question about Santa, “Where Charlie?”

I told him he was in his bedroom sitting on the bank shaped like a football on his bookshelf. He did not believe me, so we had to go look – repeatedly. He simply could not fathom how Charlie could be on his shelf and in the movie simultaneously.

Finally, I snapped. The final time he asked “Where Santa?” I said he fell off the damn roof, got buried in the snow and disappeared.

“He gone?” Jacob asked. “Yes,” I answered. Then I switched the T.V. to this movie that had Groot in it, of whom I know nothing. But Jacob and Jayce were entranced.

“Who Groot?” I asked repeatedly, only to be gifted with disgusting looks by both boys. Payback was not as much fun as I hoped.

(Scott is a resident of Nogales.)

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