Daly takes reins in this year’s Santa Claus parade

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 31, 2004

NATCHEZ &045;&045;Dr. Edward Daly, who frequently runs in marathons for fun, admits that he doesn’t quite have the girth that children may expect from Santa Claus.

He has an answer for that, however.

&uot;If they ask why Santa is so skinny, I will have to say that he has been running a little extra this year getting all the presents ready.&uot;

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If that answer doesn’t suffice, he feels he may have to rely on a little extra padding.

Daly, an internist at Internal Medicine Associates of Natchez, was elected by members of the Santa Claus Committee to don the red suit and deliver happiness and presents to children in the Miss-Lou this Christmas.

The Santa Claus Committee is an organization made up more than 300 men in the community who pay annual dues that support several local charities and help spread holiday cheer.

In the role of St. Nick, Daly will ride in the annual Santa Claus parade on Christmas Eve as well as hand out presents to underprivileged children at different venues during the Christmas season.

The committee works with the Christmas Tree Fund to make sure that Santa always has toys in his sack for needy children in the area at Christmas.

Daly, a native of Natchez, said that he grew up with the tradition of the Santa Claus Committee and parade and now feels honored to be able to fill the jolly old elf’s galoshes.

&uot;It is a great honor and responsibility. A lot of prominent Natchezians that I have respect for have done it in the past,&uot; he said.

Daly said that he looks forward to handing out presents at the Natchez Children’s Home and Braden School, something that he has heard, from very reliable sources, will be very rewarding.

&uot;I take care of a lot of old Santas in my practice and they say that it is the best part.&uot;

And what do Daly’s three sons, Jack, 8; Henry, 7; and Hayes, 3; think when they see him dressed like he is ready to go up on the rooftop with a bag of toys?

&uot;I just explain to them that I am one of Santa’s helpers this year. They are very excited about it,&uot; he said.

His biggest concern is that recent weather trends, which have made for a warmer that usual December, don’t continue until the parade on Christmas Eve.

&uot;I sure hope it’s not a hot day. Tommy Armstrong said he did it back in the 70s on a hot day and it was really tough,&uot;

he said.

At any rate, Daly is excited about the role that he has been given this year and what the Santa Claus Committee means to Natchez.

&uot;I know we do a lot of good in the community and that’s the most important thing. It’s a lot of fun for a good cause.&uot;