Frederick M. Hueston, PhD

I woke up fairly early and decided to head over to my favorite greasy spoon, a little earlier than usual. I grabbed my fedora and trench coat and noticed it was a bit cold as I headed out the door. Now, cold in Florida means it has dropped below 60 degrees F. Shivering, I ran back inside to put the liner in my coat. I was now bundled up and ready for a hot cup of joe and to flirt with Flo.  

I walked into the diner and noted three gentlemen sitting at the counter dressed in Santa suits. After all, it is December, even if it is Florida. I sat down next to them, nodded said, “Merry Christmas!” Perhaps I should have wished them a hearty “Happy Holidays!” as I really don’t want to offend anyone, and you never can tell. And it’s a good thing I’m not afraid of Santa – I wouldn’t want to be called Claus-trophobic (LOL)! 

However, they all raised their cups of coffee and said, “HO! HO! HO!” pretty much in unison. I laughed, and started talking with Flo as she poured my cup of joe. Little did I know that I would be involved in a case with Santa later that day. I only briefly believed in Santa Claus, as a kid, but that’s another story. I guess you could call me a rebel without a claus!

I finished my breakfast, said goodbye to Flo and the Santa Claus posse, and headed out the door. Just as I sat down in the old Woody, my phone rang. The jovial voice on the other end was kind-of chuckling as he was talking. Yup, he sounded just like a jolly Burl Ives version of Santa Claus. 

He told me he had a marble floor in his office barn and had an issue with some staining. What the heck is an office barn? I thought. He asked if I could come out and take a look. Since it was only a few miles away, I agreed. 

I arrived at the house – or should I say, farm. The place was huge. It had a long driveway that led to this ornate Victorian-style  mansion that looked like a gingerbread house. The mailbox at the entrance sat on a candy cane post, and the whole place was decorated like Dollywood for Christmas. 

I drove past the house to a barn-like structure. Just as I pulled up, a large man with a long, bright white beard came out of the door. Yes, you guessed it – he looked like the apple-cheeked Santa from a vintage Coke ad. The only thing missing was a red suit and a floppy hat with a bobble on it. 

Stone Detective Meets Santa Claus!He greeted me with a handshake and a hearty chuckle, and motioned me to come inside. He led me to a large office area with a white marble floor. I noticed right away there were some rectangular red stains all over the marble. He pointed to the stains and told me that he and his elves (yes, he did say elves) were wrapping presents on the floor, and when they were done, the stains were there.  

I looked around, and in the corner was this large Christmas tree. Stacked next to it there must have been over a hundred gifts wrapped in red paper. I suspected right away that the dye from the wrapping paper transferred to the marble, and caused the stains. I told him my diagnosis and gave him some instructions to remove the stains.

As I was winding up my conclusions, I looked through a large glass door in one side wall. I could see stables, which was where I assumed he kept his horses. So, I asked him what kind of horses he had. He again laughed and said, “Horses, hah! Those are for my reindeer.” He said it with a perfectly straight face.

I thought I was dreaming for a minute, and thought about that famous article that starts, “YES, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” Then he went on to explain that he plays a Santa Claus every year – to the max, he said. Another case solved, just in time for Christmas. Maybe someone will take into account that I’ve been a good boy – er– detective?

Just so you don’t offend anyone and get a lump of coal, use these phrases, as needed:

Spanish: Felices Fiestas!
French: Joyeuses Fêtes!
Dutch: Prettige Feestdagen! Italian: Buone Feste!
Fijian: Vanuinui vinaka Me Nomuni!  Hawaiian: Hau’oli Lanui! (Pronounced how-oh-lay la-new-ee – always fun to try out at holiday parties!)
Irish: Laethanta saoire sona! Yiddish: A Freylekhn Yontev! German: Frohe Feiertage! Portuguese: Boas Festas! Indonesian: Selamat Hari Raya!
Japanese: Tanoshii kurisumasu wo! Maori: Meri Kirihimete! Korean:                ;
Turkish: Mutlu Bayramlar! Mandarin: Jie Ri Yu Kuai! Thai: Sawadee Pee Mai!
South African: Ii holide eximnandi!  Southern USA: Happy Holidays, Ya’ll! Australian: Happy Holidays, Mate!

HAPPY Holidays from the Stone Detective. See ya’all next year!

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