Santa Claus enjoys role this year

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 26, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; During the Christmas season, it seems there is always enough of Santa to spread around. But when playing the part, it seems Santa is in high demand.

This year, the Santa of the Santa Claus Committee, Alton Ogden Jr., has made appearance after appearance at charity events, bringing smiles to the faces of the children of the Miss-Lou.

Beyond his many businesses &045; oil and gas exploration, real estate development and delinquent tax &045; the committee is one of the main ways Ogden is involved in the community.

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Ogden, an avid Ole Miss fan and member of First Baptist Church, enjoys hunting and fishing, as well as cooking, which goes right along with his first two hobbies, considering his specialty is wild game.

Ogden has been a member of the committee for at least a decade and takes his role on the committee and as this year’s Santa, very seriously.

&uot;It’s really a worthwhile charity,&uot; Ogden said. &uot;It’s just $75 and we do a lot of good.&uot;

From breakfasts with children to visiting them at the children’s home, Santa has spent much of the holiday season donning his new red suit.

&uot;I enjoy doing for the kids,&uot; Ogden said. &uot;It’s something everybody should do.

&uot;It’s wonderful.&uot;

Described as always the life of the party, Ogden has brought much happiness to the many events he attends, with youngsters clinging to his sides and just waiting to reach into his bag full of goodies.

&uot;Seeing the kids believe, seeing the smiles on the kid’s faces,&uot; that is the best of all, Ogden said. Many of the children this Santa sees, &uot;don’t have a lot to look forward to.&uot;

&uot;I would recommend this to anyone who has a heart.&uot;

And Beverly Ogden said Alton’s role as Santa has turned into a family affair. She and their daughter, Bethany, 9, have gone along for all of the charitable occasions.

&uot;It’s just made Christmas really special,&uot; Beverly said. &uot;He just has a soft spot for children.&uot;

He also seems to have all of the answers.

To weeping children, he replies: &uot;You’ll learn to love me later.&uot;

To the question, &uot;where are your reindeer?&uot; Tuesday night, he told them the police would not let him drive them through town. But don’t worry; you can still hear him coming from the bells on his boots.

So why does Santa, who is supposed to know, have to ask you your name when you sit on his lap.

&uot;You are asleep when I come by.&uot;

So, this man, described as a practical joker, life of the party and one with a wonderful sense of humor by friend Kim Firth, is having a great time giving his time to those less fortunate.

&uot;He’s having way too much fun with it,&uot; Beverly said.

But don’t forget the cookies for Santa Wednesday night. Chocolate chip are his favorite, he said, and any kind of milk will do &045; whole milk, 2 percent or skim.