Sunday, November 20, 2005


SUNDAY, November 20
It's that time of year again...the funny fat guy in the red flannel suit is here already!
I was invited to join my friend Anne's family today for the annual Santa Claus breakfast at the grand old Fairmont Vancouver Hotel. This meant getting up super early -- even before my bird had roused himself. Off we went with the two little fellows, Charming,MisterYusuf (5)and Omar the Magnificent (7), two of my favorite boyfriends.

It was a lavish buffet breakfast served in the hotel's posh upstairs banquet room with crystal chandeliers, Persian rugs, and beautiful Christmas decorations all around. The food was excellent, though with my upset tummy I was really not able to enjoy it as I should have. The young lads thoroughly enjoyed themselves, occupied happily with the various toys and colouring books and pipe cleaner projects provided to keep children happy until Santa should arrive. They even wrote their Santa letters. Omar said he wanted a dog and a wand (he's a Harry Potter fan) and as an after thought to go with the wand: a cat. Yusuf wanted a remote racing car and another 'big huge truck'. They both had their photos taken with Santa and then we all trooped out to the street where their dad had set up chairs for us curbside to watch the parade.

A foggy, chill November day today, but no rain! We had to wait quite awhile for the parade to start and it was rather cold but the kids were amazingly patient. The streets were jam--packed with people, lots of children of course, but the adults seem to enjoy these events just as much. I know the parade and Santa Claus always brings back a lot of happy childhood memories to me. I was remember as I sat there, how when I was about 9 or 10 we all went by train from Stratford to Toronto to see the Santa Claus parade. I've never forgotten it because I was sick with the flu that day and didn't really enjoy any of it, including sitting on Santa's knee. I still have the photo of me, looking terribly miserable.

My favorite part of the parade is always the pipe bands, those kilted bag-pipers and the tall band Major twirling his long baton. Of course the final float is always jolly old Santa and that reminds me of the famous Santa Claus suit story. When we first came to the Coast after the war, my father, the Pastor of a Baptist Church, organized a wonderful Christmas program for the Sunday School. Santa was due to make a visit, but it seemed there was no Santa suit. So my creative Mom, the expert seamstress, made one out of the big Nazi flag Dad had brought home from overseas. I've written about this in a memoir: "How the Nazi's Helped Santa Claus". That Santa suit lasted years and clothed the annual Santa to entertain the Sunday School kids until I think eventually the moths had a feed on it.

So, this was the first of the festive entertainment and party season. It seems a little early still, but time creeps up quickly. My son, his wife and I always organize a family Christmas party at the bistro where he hosts the Blues jams on Saturdays. We have the invitation to our annual do ready to send out, happening on Dec.2, just a few weeks away. It's always a blast although this year he's had to ask a cover charge in order to pay the band, and we've decided not to provide appetizers for the tables like we usually do. Neither of us are financially able to do anything more than to provide a great place to party and dance and hear some excellent Blues.

I guess in a week or two it'll be time to bring down the boxes of decorations too!
'Tis the Season to be jolly!

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