Gosh, was Santa ever feeling low this morning. 

He wouldn't even answer the special phone between The Eagle Toy Fund office and his headquarters at the North Pole.

However, we finally managed to get Mrs. Santa on the line to give her the daily report. After she showed the list of today's donors to Santa he perked up noticeably, and once, even managed a big grin, according to his wife.

He especially wanted to be remembered to Beth and Jimmie Morrill of Lanesboro, who gave a portion of today's total of $27.

"It's people like those two youngsters who really keep me going," said Santa.

"And, incidentally," he added, "tell Mrs. Morrill I'd be pleased if she would put an item in her Lanesboro news column in The Eagle about my scheduled visit there early Christmas morning.

"The name is Santa Claus — no middle initial," he reminded.

Santa also expressed pleasure about the receipt of a donation from the General Electric Cost Wives Club.

"Maybe things aren't as bad as they look," he said. "If I remember correctly, it's organizations like this that have usually started the annual Eagle Toy Fund going in past years."

Taking advantage of Santa's lifted spirits, we hastened to remind him that today's total of $154 is $4 ahead of the drive last year at this time.

Bellowing for his bookkeeper, Santa hurriedly checked the 1948 ledger and authenticated our calculations with a belly-shaking laugh.

But then, glancing over today's report, Santa noticed the "needed to reach goal" column — $2846 — and he dropped the phone and started being glum again.

"Never mind him," Mrs. Claus told us. "He's always like that this time of the year. Why one time I remember he actually let loose with some crocodile tears that almost flooded the workshop and got all the elves feet wet.

"But," she whispered, "I do wish your Eagle Toy Fund would start picking up soon. It makes him so much easier to live with."

This Story in History is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.

Community News Editor / Librarian

Jeannie Maschino is community news editor and librarian for The Berkshire Eagle. She has worked for the newspaper in various capacities since 1982 and joined the newsroom in 1989.