Santa Claus, With Keith Richards In Tow, Is Coming To Town

Keith Richards, with brisket gravy dripping down his chin like a Mount Vesuvius lava flow, couldn’t contain himself earlier this week. “Bubala, my kishka’s sendin’ out an SOS. I’m gonna plotz!” he nearly roared, beaming at my wife Sandy. “The potato latkes, the brisket, the roast chicken . . . a magnificent feast! Sandy, my tuches must be three inches wider than it was before we sat down to eat.”

Photo by Mark Seliger

We were at my and Sandy’s dining room table, gorging on a traditional Chanukah dinner. It was the eighth and final night of the holiday. “Keith, we’re glad you’re here with us,” said Sandy, the meal’s creator. “And I have to tell you that you did a wonderful job tonight lighting the candles on the menorah and an even better job saying the Chanukah prayer. Not every goy can pronounce baruch the way it’s meant to be said, with that khhhh sound grinding away deep in the back of the throat. But you, Keith, you nailed it.”

“Thanks, Sandy,” said Keith sheepishly. “I’ve been practicin’ hard.”

“Would you expect otherwise?” I asked Sandy. “I mean, Keith’s a mensch.”

Keith, my longtime friend, liked that comment. He smiled his widest smile at me. Thank you was written all over his face.

It was good having Keith at my suburban Philadelphia home. I hadn’t seen him in a real long time, though we keep up pretty regularly on the phone (you can learn how our friendship came about by clicking here). I was happy to hear from him when he called last week from his Connecticut estate. He said he needed to get away from the spotlight for a while, seeing that his plans to leave the music biz and celebrity game, which I wrote about 10 months ago (click here), had fallen through. And so, the spotlight remained blinding.

“Neil, I’d like to stay with ya for a couple days next week, if that’s all right,” Keith had said. “I can relax when I’m around ya. Your humdrum, vanilla way of living is something I kinda crave, bro.”

“Yeah, Keith-o, that’ll be cool. Come on Wednesday. And brush up on your Yiddish, okay? Remember how you got a 50-point bonus in Scrabble a few years back when you laid out all seven of your letters and spelled schmuck?” I could feel Keith basking in the glow of that memory.

“Oy gavalt!” Keith muttered into the phone. “Patti [his wife] just whispered in my ear that a reporter from People magazine is at the front door. He’s the fifth media person to show up today. One of ’em wanted to know if the Christmas season increases my sex drive. I told him ‘only when my balls are cold.’ He liked that quip. And another asked why The Stones never recorded a Christmas album. You know, that left me tongue-tied. I mean, we shoulda done one of those. We’d have knocked The Little Drummer Boy out of the ballpark. And Mick was born to sing O Little Town Of Bethlehem, don’t cha think?”

“See you soon, Keith,” I said.

The Chanukah dinner over, and Keith’s tuches looking not the least bit rock star-ish, we three retired to the living room. A Scrabble board was open on the cocktail table. We were about to start the game when, incredibly, the roof of the house shook, startling the crap out of all of us. And only 15 seconds later a lot of frantic words began to emanate from the direction of the fireplace.

“Help! I’m stuck! Give a guy a hand, you nitwits,” said the shouter, who was dangling headfirst from the bottom of the chimney. Needless to say, it was Santa Claus. He and I had bonded last year (click here), so I can’t say I was surprised to see him again. Sandy, Keith and I moseyed to the fireplace and pulled the portly gent out.

“Hello, Santa. Great to see you. What gives? Christmas Eve isn’t for another five days,” I said. “Not to mention, in case you forgot, that Christmas isn’t my holiday.”

Santa Claus shot an exasperated look my way. “I know that,” he grunted at me. Then he presented a nice and warm “Hello, Sandy” to my wife and did a double take when he saw our guest.

“Santa, Keith. Keith, Santa,” I said by way of introduction.

“A pleasure, my man,” said Keith, extending his right hand.

Santa grasped it immediately and said to Keith, “What in the world are you doing here?”

“Huh? Ya know who I am, Santa? I wouldn’t have expected that.”

“Are you kidding? Of course I know who you are. Where do you think I live? Siberia? On those long sleigh rides I’m famous for, I’ve got Beggars Banquet and Exile On Main Street playing on repeat on my iPod. I’d never be able to complete my rounds if it wasn’t for you and your bandmates. How’s Mick, by the way? Any chance he’d consider teaching me how to dance? That boy’s got more good moves than Bobby Fischer.”

I glanced at Keith and could tell that he didn’t want to break the news to Santa that the chess champ Fischer is long gone.

“So, what brings you this way, Santa?” I asked. “Do you need some cheering up, just like you did last year?”

“I do, Neil, I do. But I’ve got a more pressing problem that I’m hoping you’ll be able to help me with. Bringing toys to millions of children isn’t easy. The average Jill or Joe wouldn’t in a million years be able to handle my job. But I’m not getting any younger, as the saying goes, and I really and truly could use a helping hand. Neil, if you’ve got nothing better to do on Christmas Eve and early Christmas morning, how’s about you join me in my sleigh and pitch in with the deliveries? That would be heartily appreciated.” And Santa then let rip a “ho, ho, ho” for the ages.

I didn’t want to let Santa down. But what could I do? Sandy and I would be flying south on the 24th for a six-day vacation in Jamaica. I explained the situation, and Santa, though disappointed, seemed to accept it.

“Oh well, just thought I’d ask. You and I got along so well last year, I couldn’t think of a better companion than you for the upcoming big night. No worries. I’ll get by.”

That’s when Keith Richards, who’d been listening to the conversation with mouth agape, placed his hands on Santa’s shoulders and looked him straight in the eyes.

“Santa Claus,” Keith said, “there is no doubt in my mind that cosmic forces of an extraordinarily wonderful essence are at play here. They brought us together in this unlikely spot tonight, and the reason is obvious.” I kind of swooned at Keith’s unexpected eloquence.

“Santa,” he continued, “you’re lookin’ at your man. I’m a fountain of energy. I’m skinny, so droppin’ down chimneys will be a breeze for me. Don’t worry about my expanded tuches, by the way. It will be back to normal size in 48 hours. And I love to deliver goods. I’ve been deliverin’ the goods all my life. Where, and at what time, do ya want to meet on Christmas Eve?”

Well, ye of good spirits, little more needs to be said. A relative handful of hours after I publish this story, a Stone shall be flying through the air, out of the media spotlight while performing his mission and happy as a lark. Christmas 2017 will go down in history as indescribably remarkable. Who’d ever have thunk it?

(Don’t be shy about adding your comments or about sharing this story. Thanks.)

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54 thoughts on “Santa Claus, With Keith Richards In Tow, Is Coming To Town

  1. andrewcferguson December 21, 2017 / 2:23 am

    Great piece, Neil. Two semi-mythical characters jamming on the one sleigh. I’ve rewritten my email to the North Pole: Fender Telecaster for me, please, Uncle Keith!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. charliecountryboy December 21, 2017 / 3:08 am

    Brilliant, loved Keith since I was about 9 years old, that’s a long time ha, thanks for sharing 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. greenpete58 December 21, 2017 / 7:51 am

    Keith Richards, Bobby Fischer, Yiddish, and Santa Claus in one article. Beautiful. That’s why I love your blog. Merry Chanukah and Happy Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Joyce Hamilton December 21, 2017 / 8:14 am

    Oy vey……happy holidays and a Happy and healthy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The Artist's Child December 21, 2017 / 8:54 am

    Great story. Sounds like you had a memorable celebration with an appreciative guest and a surprise drop in. I hope Keith also flies down to Jamaica on the 24th. Happy Holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 21, 2017 / 11:19 am

      Hi. Thanks a lot for stopping by. Keep your eyes open for KR and Santa. Maybe you’ll spot them flying overhead.
      Happy New Year to you and yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Deb December 21, 2017 / 9:36 am

    Thanks for giving us a glimpse into the REAL Keith Richards. I never would have guessed 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Fictionophile December 21, 2017 / 3:24 pm

    Thanks for following my blog Neil. Happy Holidays!
    I get a kick out of your Keith Richards stories, as I am a huge fan of his.
    It is funny… the first time I saw your profile picture for your blog, I could have sworn it was a side view of Charlie Watts…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ann Coleman December 21, 2017 / 3:48 pm

    Thanks for letting me know! Because if Santa is going to be accompanied by Kieth Richards this year, I think I’ll stay up so I can say hello. I can always catch up on my sleep on Christmas morning.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. alhenry December 21, 2017 / 5:42 pm

    Now this, Neil , is a POST! I often love to imagine how the world might be if, well, we ALL let our imaginations run free. Crazy, right? But crazy, in a progressive way, is great. And I had long ago guessed, listening to “Waiting on a Friend,” that our boy Keith has some serious soul. Good to have it confirmed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 21, 2017 / 6:14 pm

      Thanks a lot for stopping by, Amy.
      You know, when I started this blog I didn’t do stories like this one. But now they seem to come out fairly often. Maybe that’s a sign of the times.

      Like

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 21, 2017 / 7:26 pm

      Thanks a lot, Janet. I appreciate that.

      A very happy holiday season and new year to you and yours.

      Like

  10. dcw0731 December 22, 2017 / 2:31 am

    Great read. Hope you and Sandy have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Cristina Crawford December 22, 2017 / 6:12 am

    They should have a love button (instead of Like). What a great read! Loved it. Peace, Love, Joy, and optimal health to you and yours for 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger December 22, 2017 / 7:14 am

      Hi, Cristina. Thanks a lot for everything you said.

      A happy and healthy 2018 for you and your family.
      See ya’ —

      Like

  12. Debra December 22, 2017 / 9:23 am

    Are you going to Jamaica to stock up on more of whatever you are smoking to write these stories? I hope so, because your writing is great.

    Safe travels,
    Debra

    Liked by 1 person

  13. cincinnatibabyhead December 22, 2017 / 12:26 pm

    I’d be checking my “Nog” if I seen Richards coming down my chimney and out my fireplace.. Have a great holiday!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Cindy December 22, 2017 / 8:49 pm

    Santa will be flyin’ high THIS Christmas! Thanks for the hollday jollies.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Alyson December 23, 2017 / 9:39 am

    Another great “my buddy Keith Richards” story. Enjoy the trip to Jamaica and yes, with skinny KR to help, those presents will be delivered in double quick time.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Still the Lucky Few December 23, 2017 / 10:07 am

    Now you’ve done it. Just think of all those boomers missing hours and hours of sleep, just to see the famous duo! The picture of Keith is fabulous! He’s aging well, eh? (I’m Canadian)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. America On Coffee December 26, 2017 / 4:55 pm

    Great story! I think I Santa should start using the many modern shipping resources. Maybe then he could better look after himself and stop the expansion of his tush.😁

    Liked by 1 person

  18. tanjabrittonwriter December 28, 2017 / 12:16 am

    Amazing, Neil. Thanks to you and your mediation, Santa pulled it off once again!
    Enjoy your time in Jamaica, Man!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Christy B December 28, 2017 / 1:38 pm

    That Keith is quite the character 😉 I hope you had a nice Christmas 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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