I don’t like to brag, but I know Santa.
OK, I do like to brag, and I know a guy who knows Santa.
Paul Springer first met the elf-in-charge about 40 years ago. They have a lot in common.
Springer likes to make kids happy at Christmas, and he loves showing up at schools, parades and other holiday events where Yuletide spirit just overflows. So does Santa.
In fact, Old St. Nick loves to show up at certain Philipsburg events every year, riding in on the back of a firetruck to ring in the season, for example.
It’s funny that, close as they are, there just aren’t any pictures of Santa and Springer together. Go figure.
There are, however, tons of pictures of Santa in Philipsburg over the years. Kids who took pictures with him years ago are now taking their own kids, maybe even their grandkids, to sit on his lap, share a candy cane and talk about what they hope to find under the tree.
Springer, for his part, well, you might call him a really tall elf. Or maybe Santa’s social secretary. If it wasn’t for Springer, it’s safe to say that Santa might never show up where he needs to be in the Moshannon Valley.
Springer the owner of Philipsburg Marble and Granite, has been active in the community for decades. Kiwanis Club, the Philipsburg Historical Foundation, the Philipsburg Revitalization Corp., the Moshannon Valley Economic Development Partnership. It doesn’t matter. If there’s been a way for him to give of himself to the area, he’s done it.
At 64, Springer says he hasn’t made any plans for retirement yet, but doesn’t think it will slow him down any. If anything, he thinks he would have more time to hang out with Santa.
There is just a week left to this year’s holiday season. Springer is busy. Just like Santa. And the two have a very similar sparkle in their eyes heading into the Christmas home stretch.