I will no longer be able to serve the Cornhusker state on Christmas. I do, however, have a replacement for you: my third cousin twice removed, Herbie Claus.
His side of the family lives not at the North Pole, but in North Platte. In order for you to get to know him better, here are a few differences between us.
Herbie drives an old, red Chevy truck with rusty wheel wells (rather than a shiny sleigh with jingle bells). I made the mistake of loaning Herbie one of my reindeer – its head now hangs above his fireplace. Eight flying beef cows pull Herbie’s truck on Christmas Eve.
Many people, including me, prefer classic Christmas movies like “Miracle on 34th Street” and “It’s a Wonderful Life,” but Herbie’s favorite holiday films are the “Game of the Century” and any Cornhusker Orange Bowl win.
Instead of cookies and milk from a plastic jug, Herbie asks that you leave him a hot Runza and milk in a glass bottle. I’ve tried the Runza and agree it warms me up more than cookies.
Like me, when he comes to your house, he’ll be wearing a red and white suit, but don’t be alarmed by the addition of his striped bib overalls – required attire for the truest Nebraskans.
Instead of hearing “On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen,” you’ll hear “On Rodgers, on Rozier, on Crouch and Frazier.” And finally, you may be used to me exclaiming, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night,” but Herbie Clause will be sure to say, “Merry Christmas to all and to Pelini a championship.”
Merry Christmas, Nebraska.
Author's Note: To show the love of this Texan for Nebraska I wrote this to share with my congregation last Christmas. Many thanks to Chris Amundson of Nebraska Life Magazine for his editorial work & permission to use this copyrighted version here. "Memo from Santa to Nebraska" was published in the November/December 2008 issue on page 27. Merry Christmas indeed, Nebraska!