December 24, 2009

USA: Never Too Old for St. Nick

. CORNING, California / Corning Observer / December 24, 2009 By Julie R. Johnson/Tri-County Newspapers Elisea Nava Soria, 89, sits on Santa's lap during a church party on Friday. This was the Mexico native's very first time visiting Santa. Staff photo by Julie R. Johnson It was a first for 89-year-old Elisea Nava Soria — a chance to sit on Santa's lap. Better known as Abuelita to her friends and family, Soria, a native of San Juan Huerta, Michoacan, Mexico, spent her life working in the fields of her small, terribly poor rural village just to survive. The thought of ever seeing Santa Claus or even better yet, getting to sit on his lap was just a dream. On Friday evening, that dream came true. For the past two years, Soria has been living with her granddaughter, Maricela Finefrock, and her family in Corning. While the family was attending a church party in town, Santa Claus arrived with gifts in tow for dozens of children who were bright eyed with anticipation to sit on his lap and whisper Christmas wish lists in his ear. "This was my grandmother's first chance to see Santa," Finefrock said. "She was really afraid, nervous and shy to go up and see him. When she finally got close to him, Santa asked her to sit on his lap and she just smiled and smiled, although she was too shy to even look at him." Photo of Church in Corning for illustration only. Soria is small and fragile and not much bigger than most of the children, including two of her great—granddaughters, who had stood in line to visit with Ol' Saint Nick that evening. Dressed in clothing native to rural Mexico, Soria gently sat on Santa's lap. He handed her a bag of candy, fruit and nuts, which she quietly accepted, still too nervous to look at him, none the less talk to him or give him a hug. With little children running around them squealing with delight, Santa Claus and an 89—year—old woman shared a dream come true. "My Abuelita is the sweetest person and I am so glad she got this chance," Finefrock said. "This is a good Christmas for her." [rc] Copyright © 2009 Freedom Communications