I suspect almost everyone knows who Goober is. Maybe not the given name of George Lindsey, but when one hears “Goober”, they immediately think of the Andy Griffith show and the loveable gas station attendant and mechanic wearing the pointed beanie hat.
George had many roles other than Goober, but he will forever be known as that loveable, goofy character. Santa’s encounter with George was at The Mall at Green Hills located in Nashville, where he made his home for many years until his passing on May 6th, 2012.
It was an early morning in November and Santa had just walked onto the photography set. The stores had just opened and there were very few shoppers roaming the mall. Santa has encountered many “stars” throughout the years and some are less recognizable in their daily walk than when on stage. Goober was easily identified, even in a sport coat and no hat.
As George walked by, Santa waved and said, “Hi!”. George stopped and started a conversation. He asked me about all the children that visited Santa. We talked about the challenges of my role and then his career. Although forever known as Goober, George Lindsey appeared in many films and TV shows. A little-known fact is that he was Gene Rodenberry’s first choice for the role of Spock in the original Star Trek. George turned down the role and Leonard Nimoy became famous for it. The conversation turned to the Nashville life, then family life and then our faith. George, at times was rather colorful in speech but not offensively so. He also seemed to be a man of strong faith and put his trust in Christ. George then said he had to go as he was headed out to Georgia to “do a Goober show”.
Santa asked, “George do you ever get tired of Goober?” George paused, sighed and said, “I get so tired of Goober sometimes, I can’t stand it”. Then, the next comment is what stands out. “You know, sometimes I do get tired of Goober, but so much of my blessings have been because of Goober. Goober is an American Icon, along with the other characters of that show. Because of what I’ve received as a result, I have no right not to give them Goober!”
As I went about the day, visiting with children and families, the light from the camera constantly flashing, those words remained in my head.
On my drive home that night, the words of Jesus in Luke 12:48 came to mind. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
Most of us are familiar with that verse. But, that night, it came to life for Santa.
When I first put on the red suit, it was because of another person not showing up. So, with a school waiting for Santa, that left me no choice. The suit and the beard were mine. That first day in 1984 was stressful but so much fun! I had no clue that this was a defining moment in my life. After a few years, and a lot of Santa education (I now have a Masters in Santa Claus from The INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SANTA CLAUS), I came to realize that this was a plan that God had for my life. This is a ministry, just as a pastor is called into a church role.
There are days that, like George, I feel a little weary. Then, God brings ol’ Goober and our parting conversation to mind. When God calls one to serve in a particular role, as HIS children, we are obligated to serve in that role until He releases us.
You may be a teacher, doctor, police, sanitation worker or anything else on this earth. There are days you want to give it all up. On those days, remember Goober and his conversation with Santa.
The amazing thing that happens on those days that Santa is down? God puts someone or something in my path to let me know this is where I belong.
The last 2 years have been challenging for many of us. We have been financially and emotionally drained and there are days we just can’t see past tomorrow. Rest assured our God will see us through.
And remember- when we are in HIS will, He will bless us and others through us.
Durward Blanks has been a professional Santa Claus/ St. Nicholas for over thirty years. He is a motivational speaker and writer and enjoys sharing his many life experiences with others. As a follower of Christ, his mission is to share God’s love with as many as possible. You may contact Santa Durward at [email protected] or phone 615.496.1368