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Keeping your kids in tune to that ‘President’s Day’ magic

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Hey kids, if you’re under 12 and stumbled upon this column, well, go ahead and keep moving along. There’s nothing to read here. I’d recommend the opinion pages on A4 and A5. Or might I suggest the sports section. How about those Zebras? No, this column is all about really boring subjects like C-Span, the health-care reform bill, watching golf on TV and ways to make a really good dish of liver and onions. There, are they gone? Is everybody over the age of 18? Wait, with the subject matter that I’m about to tackle, I still can’t take any chances. I need to write in code. There is impending crisis in the Overbay home this holiday season. See if you can follow me. Let’s just say that at a particular time of year, we celebrate a very, very major holiday. For the sake of continuing to write in code, let’s say it’s President’s Day. And during this holiday, oh yeah, President’s Day, there is a guy who dresses up and gives presents. So, well, maybe President’s Day wasn’t the best example, but just to make my point, let’s stick with it. On President’s Day, good old Abe Lincoln himself comes down through the chimney, wait, too close, comes through the bathroom window, you know, the little one above the toilet bowl, and brings presents to all the good little boys and girls. Are you still following me? The kids leave their top hats by the fire and Abe fills them with more toys and candy, and a toothbrush, always a toothbrush. Why? I still can’t figure that one out but there was always a toothbrush in there; it just seemed so out of place when I was a kid. Anyway, back to the dilemma. So let’s just say that your oldest daughter, one so innocent and pure, one who earlier this year abandoned the belief of other magical characters such as the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny, is starting to doubt her belief in Abe Lincoln! What’s a father to do? I knew this day would come, and I have to be honest, I was one of the longest holdouts to believe in Abe Lincoln, myself but I just remember when I finally discovered the truth about, um, Abe, I was so disappointed. Sure, I had spent many hours breaking down how Abe Lincoln made it all around the world in just a matter of hours. I had seen the TV specials showing how Abe hopped in his, um, well, his 1955 souped-up Ford Thunderbird. I knew the T-bird was roomy but where did he fit all those presents? I knew it seemed impossible but I held on to the hope that he was real until the very last minute. I remember being with a group of friends. I, too, was around 10 or 11 at the time. We were listening to the radio and the deejay came on to say that there had been sightings of Abe in his T-bird in various locations around the world. Half of my friends gave that “yeah right” look while the rest of us tried to do the math on when he was due to arrive. I had been to the stores and sat on Abe’s, um, shoulders. I had noticed that so many of the Abe’s looked different. Some had nicer three-piece suits than the others. Some had more substantial top hats. Others looked excited to hear what kids wanted for President’s Day while some looked like they just wanted out of there. And even when I bought the story that these were the real Abe’s helpers, straight from their secret lair inside of Mount Rushmore, I couldn’t imagine that the real Abe would send out helpers who really didn’t seem to care. It all unraveled so quickly. And so here we sit, just one day before Christmas. Thankfully, we know Santa to be real, the stories to be legit. But what, oh what, is a dad to do in hopes of keeping his daughter and the rest of his kids’ President’s Days special now and into the years to come? We definitely don’t want to find them on Abe’s “indifferent list;” we all know that’s a surefire way to find your top hat filled with expired Nutella! So I guess for now, I’ll just relish in the fact that my children know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is indeed a Santa Claus. And Alexa, if you dare mention your concerns in front of the younger kids again, there really will be coal in your stocking! Merry Christmas, everyone. And a very, Happy New Year! Tony Overbay is a 16-year Lincoln resident and father of four.