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Adventures With Santa: Braddock, Pennsylvania

Santa left Pittsburg and stopped briefly in Braddock to drop off some bicycles that he loved.

He’d followed the calling of service of Gisele since she was a young woman. Relocating to Pennsylvania to work beside her now-husband, John Fetterman, while he was Mayor of the town; then supporting him as Lieutenant General of the state as Pennsylvania’s Second Lady; still by his side today, supporting his successful run as State Senator.

Santa knew a good egg when he saw one, and he couldn’t wait to meet the woman beloved in her state. So loved is she that the mantra, “Vote for Gisele’s husband,” was commonly heard throughout the campaign.

He also knew that she had been honest with him about using cannabis to treat chronic pain.

A Home With History

Santa steered Rudolph toward the rooftop of the Fetterman’s home.

So proud of his state’s history of steel, Sen. Fetterman converted the former Superior Motors building across the street from the Edgar Thomson Steel Works into his family home. Fetterman felt pride in the fact that the mill laid railroad tracks throughout the nation.

Superior Motors was one of the country’s first indoor car dealerships, with an old Chevy needing to be removed via a crane from their soon-to-be-home.

Gisele Fetterman lay next to her sleeping husband thinking about the holiday at hand, her children fast asleep, her husband’s newly-appointed position as State Senator and all that implied for the future of her family and their beloved state.

She heard nothing when the bump on the roof sounded.

Glancing over at her husband’s 6’8” frame, giggling at the sight of his feet protruding off the end of the bed, with his head covered by a blanket as he slept soundly, she tiptoed up toward the rooftop to see what was the matter.

Her eyes were so dry she couldn’t believe it.

“Ho, ho, ho!” didn’t mean to startle you,” Santa said, gingerly stepping down and out of the sled, as the reindeer made themselves comfortable on the expansive rooftop.

“I’m not opposed to miracles,” Gisele said with an unsure smile. “Just give me a minute to take it all in.”

“Well, I’m no miracle, just spreading the love of giving, just like you,” he replied. “My hope is that you are as excited to meet me as I am to meet you. We consider you one of our friends. Your selfless and loving ways have not been missed by my missus either.”

Santa pulled out a small dropper bottle of tincture from his pocket and offered it to Gisele, who was now fondly stroking Rudolph’s nose.

“You probably haven’t thought of this, but my lower back can get a bit sore sitting upon this wooden sled,” he said with a seriousness in his voice that surprised her. “The elves started growing hemp up at the North Pole, and Mrs. Claus makes this tincture. She wanted you to have a bottle.”

Mrs. Claus created the Hemp Tincture using high amounts of CBD and low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol. This was then hybridized with the great Lawrence Ringo from Southern Humboldt County.

Ringo hybridized low THC plants together for his own chronic back pain, into what he referred to as the “God plant,” as the original cannabis plant said to be found in Holy Anointing Oil from the Bible did not have the high THC count we have today. However, hemp has all the cannabinoid, terpene and medicinal properties of the cannabis plant.

“Both Frankincense and Myrrh are highly medicinal,” Santa informed. “Not just incense for the Baby Jesus. I don’t think most people understand that about most plants, or why they brought medicine to the child in the manger.” 

Gisele was able to understand and accepted the tiny bottle of wine with thanks. She was also slightly stunned. There was so much to absorb. Santa, a cannabis advocate – the Elves as farmers, Mrs. Claus an apothecary, weed in Holy Annointing Oil? 

This man in a red suit flying through the air offered up more than physical gifts on Christmas Eve, she thought – pondering gifting him extra cookies by the hearth next year.

She also knew in her heart, if her gentle giant of a husband could win State Senate – wearing his signature sweatshirt, perennial shorts in the winter and sneakers, then anything is possible. Her very existence, even in this world, was an impossible task.

Gisele Fetterman. Courtesy Diana Markosian

Silent Night, Holy Night

“I read that you have three strikes against you,” Santa continued. “You began your life in this country as an illegal immigrant – you are a woman, and a cannabis patient.”

“Yes, that’s right – with these thick eyebrows, they just don’t know what to make of me,” she laughed, as Santa chuckled along. “But, I believe that education is everything when it comes to cannabis. It’s been misunderstood for a very long time.”

“So many have realized the plant as medicine, it’s true,” he pondered. “When you think about it, I too am illegal. Every year, I cross the border to make children happy with illegally imported presents. I pay no tariffs. My reindeer aren’t even documented to be in the U.S., but here we are. There are double standards everywhere, in every country.”

The two had a good laugh at Santa’s perspective, and Gisele had to agree, they were quite the pair. 

As Braddock and Braddock enjoyed this Christmas Eve, the stars of the night shined brightly over Braddock.

“I’m thankful for you, Santa,” Gisele said lovingly. “And for Mrs. Claus and the Elves – and these beautiful animals. And a plant that helps us both.” 

“And I’m thankful for you and your good works,” he repled. “‘If everyone gives, no one goes without.’ That’s what Mrs. Claus always reminds me – especially on those days that seem darkest of all. It’s not easy being misunderstood in this world. It’s not easy watching people go without. And it’s not easy watching people suffer in pain, because this plant isn’t available to them. Thank you for your advocacy, Gisele.”

In the distance they could hear the bells of Saints Peter & Paul Byzantine Catholic Church ringing in the blessings of Christmas Eve. The steel mill across the street was quiet, as Gisele’s family slept peacefully in their beds, unaware of the magic taking place up on the roof.

Santa got up from his sled, and ordered his team to go towards Philadelphia City of Love.

“Wish us luck, we are heading right into Kensington,” Santa said with a wave, blowing a kiss to the State Senator’s wife. “Oh, and you have a little surprise at the Free Store, we dropped off some bicycles!”

“God Bless you, Santa – and God bless the souls of Kensington,” Gisele waved back, then put her hands together in prayer, lifting them up to the jolly man. She then blew her kisses towards him in the twinkling Braddock night skies.

“Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!” Santa called back.

For more information on the Free Store of Braddock visit, 

For more information on newly elected State Senator John Braddock visit,