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Right now, we could all do with a good news story.

Drive-by greetings, teleconferencing, and waves through the window are all good things during these pandemic times. But when five cousins gathered for an in-person play day on Saturday, June 28 after months of isolation, a special kind of magic happened in Waverly, Iowa.

Santa was seen. And Santa brought gifts.

The cousins, ages 1½ to 6 years old gathered for the first time since the COVID pandemic began. Put together kids, picnic food, a swing set, a unicorn sprinkler, and a wading pool and there is joy and laughter abundant.

Then an ultralight aircraft flew by. Hearing the unusual sound, the children looked up and waved to the pilot who waved back. So stunned by the sight, parents and grandparents forgot to pick up their cell phones for a snap.

No doubt the pilot heard the water splashing and squeals of laughter from his lofty perch. Then, the unknown pilot circled lower and from his summertime sleigh dropped small stuffed animals for each of the children.

“Whoever this Summertime Santa is, he certainly added more joy and delight for these little ones — and their parents and grandparents,” said grateful grandmother Trudy Coleman.

Attempts to uncover Santa’s identity were unsuccessful, as ultralight craft flying under VFR (Visual Flight Rules) are not required to file flight plans.

“I have clue. The airport is officially closed. No one took off from here,” said Irv Swieter of the Waverly Municipal airport.

Yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus. In the summer Santa gives those reindeer a rest and uses an ultralight plane.

In this time of separation and worry, a Santa pilot brings the world a different perspective.