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Santa asks Milania Denmark what she wants for Christmas.

The Jaycees held its annual Christmas Parade Friday night. Fortunately, the rain had stopped before the parade kicked off at 7 p.m. Although the parade was brief this year the kids picked up a ton of candy out of the street that was thrown by the people in the parade.

After the parade dozens of children took the opportunity to tell Santa Claus what was on their wish list. It was the only scheduled visit by Santa to the Emporia-Greensville-Jarratt area before he slides down the chimneys on Christmas Eve.

“I liked it when they threw so much candy,” said A’yonta Scott. “I also liked receiving a book to read from the 4-H. That was cool. I love to read.”

AaLiyaha Parham agreed. “I loved chasing after the candy at the parade and was thrilled when I got a book from 4-H at Cookies with Santa at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center. I really appreciated the book. I also enjoyed seeing Santa. I had a long list for Santa this year.”

4-H had a lot of books donated from the Molina Foundation so volunteers gave out the books at Cookies with Santa, said Hannah Parker.

“I wanted to reach all the children. The Molina Foundation gave out 50,000 books. I was lucky to be there to get them. The kids here really needed them. Any books we have left over will also be given away. I want to thank the 4-Hers for gift wrapping all the books.

After riding on the back of the Greensville County Volunteer Fire Department’s fire truck, Santa got a chance to sit at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center when he visited with the kids. Child after child waited patiently for their turn to visit with jolly man in red. Everything was going fine when Jackson Ogburn, wearing a hat identical to Santa’s, sat in his lap.

Santa looked at the little tyke. “Do you think you can be Santa, Jackson?” Santa asked, quite concerned. “Sounds pretty cool to me. I wouldn’t mind being Santa Claus,” Jackson said with a laugh. Santa laughed too, but not very hard. “Well, maybe one day but I got a lot of Christmases left in me. Ho Ho. Ho.”

And then Jackson started giving Santa his wish list. Five minutes later as his anxious parents looked on, the Dad said, “He’s still giving Santa his list?”

But then things hit a snag. Jackson forgot the last item on his very long list. And it was such an important toy. He covered his face with his hands and began tapping his head. “I just can’t remember what it is,” he said.

Santa looked fondly at the child and said, “Don’t worry. When you remember it just write it down and send me a letter through the Independent Messenger.” The long line behind Jackson breathed a sigh of relief and the other little tykes took their turn sitting on Santa’s lap as others ate cookies and drank hot cocoa.