Sunday, December 08, 2013

The Annual Tradition

Sweltering Santa in the Park!

As usual, it was "The hottest day anyone can remember," though it's always hot. See: here and here.

Officially 82 degrees, though I question that, because I feel like I've been char-broiled. It definitely felt 87-ish. It felt like May, not December.

If Delaney ever questions how much her Grandma loves her, I will point her to this blog entry. I walked three miles in the hot sun for her Santa experience today. I walked to the park early to snag a low-ish ticket number for the Santa line-up, and walked home, then walked over to meet her and her parents. And back.

I scored a number in the low 50s, which as Santa Numbers go, was a good one. Hundreds of kids show up for this. The kids are called to see him in groups of 25, while the rest of the herd does the bounce house, plays beanbag toss games, eats hotdogs, and plays on the playground. So we were ready for Santa's Big Arrival on the Fire Truck! Yay! Delaney will really love that this year, she loves fire trucks (day care is very enriching that way). We were ready for Santa to make his big appearance on top of a fire truck at 2 p.m.

So, I don't know what happened, but at 1:40, a dark blue SUV with flashing lights pulled up in the fire truck parking space, and...Santa and Mrs. Claus emerged. Not the same Santa as the last two years, but that's okay, she wouldn't remember the old one. And I'm sure there was a legitimate reason why the fire truck wasn't available, and it was off doing serious rescue work and not delivering Santa to the park, but still, it was a bit of a let-down.

Delaney appeared delighted to see Santa, and said she was willing to sit on his lap and talk to him. So, yay! We killed time on they playground, and they shared a hotdog and a bottle of water.

As the numbers crept along, Grandma (that's me) staked out a place in line, throwing my body into the hot sun as a placeholder, so Delaney could continue to ride the froggy on the playground ("Ribbit! Ribbit!") and run her parents ragged.

Finally, it was her turn. She was waiting as a boy who looked way too big to be sitting on Santa's knee was getting his picture taken by his mom. (Here's a hint Mom: If your son is wearing temp tattoos and you have to ask him to remove his knock-off Oakley shades for the picture, perhaps he's a bit too big to sit on Santa's knee. Just a thought.)

It was Delaney's turn! She walked with her parents with great confidence, striding boldly up the red carpet! She got within...oh two feet of the Jolly Old Elf, and he extended his hands and looked warm and welcoming! And she screamed, burst into tears, and exited, stage left. Daddy grabbed her and comforted her, while Mommy and Santa tried to talk her down. My downstairs neighbor (whose arm is visible in the picture) joined in the effort to coax her to trust the stranger in the red suit.

NOT gonna happen. She did accept a candy cane, a tiny penguin ornament, a nearly melted Publix chocolate chip cookie, and a juice box. She was still not going anywhere near That Man.

Oh well. At least she had some quality playground time.


Brenda said...

Back in the '60's, when I was a little girl, Santa used to have a little house at the outdoor shopping center with a pen next to it for his reindeer. The line was always out the door, and I can remember standing in the cold, waiting for my turn. His sled was there too, and it was always disappointing to not actually see the reindeers make it fly. (And none of them had a flashing red nose like Rudolph, either.)

Catherine said...

It's Florida. I'm surprised they can find a dedicated Santa who will wear a Santa suit in the hot sun for hours. I was disappointed that the wonderful Santa with the real beard and hair and belly we'd seen two years in a row wasn't there this year. I suspect that the very astute Miss D noted the falseness of the beard on closer inspection, and that led her to flee.