Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Old St. Nick

Four years ago we were driving up north for Thanksgiving at my in-law’s house.  On our drive up I5 we stopped at In N Out for lunch (about 4 hours from Sacramento).  My girls were 3, and my son was 9 months old.  As we enjoyed our burgers, this man walked up to our table and immediately addressed the children (he really didn’t even acknowledge me or my husband!).  They all were mesmerized by him.  He had snowy white hair and a white beard.  He had kind eyes and a very gentle voice, almost hypnotic.  There was something very familiar about him and it felt like magic was in the air.  My son gazed at him and the girls were entranced as they held onto his every word.  After entertaining them for a time, he looked to us and asked where we were heading.  Sacramento,” my husband answered.  He asked if we’d ever been to The Empire Mine.  And when we answered no, he told us that he heard Santa Claus was going to be there the day after Thanksgiving and that we should go.  And just like that he was gone.  Could it be?...
 As soon as we arrived in Sacramento we looked up The Empire Mine and sure enough, there was a holiday celebration the day after Thanksgiving and we made plans to go.  It was a wonderful surprise to visit this old gold mine that was teaming with history and charm.  The Empire Mine is the oldest, largest and richest gold mine of California, opening in 1850.  The grounds surrounding the owners cottage are covered with large trees that are changed to brilliant colors this time of year.  And then in the Clubhouse, with an open roaring fire, Santa sits and waits for children to come visit him. 
As we entered the Clubhouse, Old St. Nick greeted us with a big smile and a wink.  My husband and I looked at each other – Santa looked a little fuller this year – perhaps he had one too many Double Doubles at In N Out! 
 Four years later, we made our third trip to the mine after Thanksgiving.  Once again Jolly Old St. Nick greeted us and welcomed us to come and sit awhile as he told us the importance of family and taking care of one another. 
He was in no rush to see us leave.  We was perfectly content to chat and share his love with everyone.  As we left the Clubhouse, we all had a huge smile on our face.  There is just something about that man – I swear he must know Jesus!  He truly is magical and we’ll be forever grateful for the man at In N Out that told us to visit the Empire Mine.


  1. That is super cool! I LOVE how all three kids loved him... even with being only 9 months old, he was complete awestruck instead of terrified! Great memories and great pics!



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