“Did Nina say her prayers?” he asked.
How does he know her name, I wondered? I wasn’t sure what to do next but he seemed pleasant enough, so I answered his questions. “Yes she did” I said.
“But, before that you had to discuss what she was going to have for breakfast in the morning” he said. “Her palate is quite mature for her young age. That’s going to be trouble for you when she grows up”.
“HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS??”
He squinted and the corner of his mouth turned up in a half-smile that told me he knows more than I can ever imagine. “What about Andi? Has she quit talking and gone to sleep yet?” he said.
Before he left, he reached into his pocket and pulled out two small trinkets to leave for the girls, and promised he would be back next year and the year after that.........
He returned the following year and every year after that and still does today, always bearing three small trinkets. His arrival is always the evening after our family Christmas tree is put up. How does he know? He waits for the warm red glow. Since that first December night, we added one more daughter, Natalie to our family. As the girls got older, my kitchen table chats with Dudley changed as did our beverage of choice. We now chat over a pint of ale and discuss their boyfriends, husbands, college, careers and whatever else is on our minds. Even though he has never seen them, he knows them as well as I do. Dudley knows...........