A gaggle of Canada geese and a pair of mallards paddled about in the water below the Occoquan Town pier Saturday and kept an eye on about 100 people gathered there.
While the water fowl kept their eyes on the people, probably expecting bread crusts or something else to eat thrown in, the people looked toward the Occoquan River.
They were expecting Santa Claus to arrive by boat at any minute.
Parents got all excited and pointed toward the river when the fat man in the red suit chugged up in his non-traditional conveyance.
Santa’s presence, on the river of all places, registered with some of the children. Others didn’t get it until the boat drew closer.
All smiled when they finally recognized old St. Nick.
The fat man was mobbed with toy requests by the time his black boots hit the dock.
Madelyn Granger, 5, didn’t have much to say when she got onto Santa’s lap.
“She can’t decide this year,” said her father, Chris Granger.
“But it’s probably along the lines of Strawberry Shortcake or Hello Kitty,” the 33-year-old Woodbridge man said.
It’s okay though. Santa probably already knows what Madelyn wants even if she doesn’t since he’s magical.
Madelyn’s cousin Abe and his father Doug Granger, who were visiting from Charlottesville, tagged along with Madelyn and her father.
The 3-year-old Abe said he wanted a truck but forgot to tell Santa.
Doug Granger said his son might have been distracted by the candy canes Santa was handing out to all comers.
With the candy cane finished and Santa forgotten, Abe told his father he wanted food.
Megan Mellenkamp, 5, wasn’t all that thrilled to see Santa this year.
She declined a seat in Santa’s lap while he was on the pier.
Her mother, Jane Mellenkamp, was perplexed; it wasn’t like Megan.
“Last year she sat on his lap,” the Woodbridge woman said as she and her husband, Roger, wandered the streets of Occoquan with Megan.
Santa caught up with the Mellenkamps on his way from the pier to the town hall and greeted Megan once again.
Without a lap looming, Megan was able to smile and accept a candy cane.
She didn’t get the chance to tell Santa that she wanted a “real kitchen” and a trip to the “Build-A-Bear Workshop” before Santa was down the road again.
But that’s okay. He’s sure to know what Megan wants as well.
Santa’s holiday magic works all the time, for all children everywhere.