20 November 2009

Sana~tizing with Santa

Don't pay attention to the date~stamp on the pic, it's not right. However, this was the pic taken by the folks at Starkville Daily News a few years ago, on my Jerry's annual seasonal Santa ride. His late wife had bought him the bike four years ago, on what would be their last anniversary and that fall, he also won the Oscar Meyer Wiener contest {"what would you do with the wiener~mobile for a day?" my jerry's answer: load it up with toys and gifts for the kids at the neighboring Palmer Home, dress as Santa and distribute the toys, give the kids rides in the Mobile, and basically give them a really nice Christmas}. His late wife's birthday is December 23 and Christmas was her favorite time of year, so to honor her, Jerry rides the last gift she'd given him as Santa either on the 23rd and/or the Saturday just before Christmas.

Yesterday, I was at the Emerson Center for Families {which had been a school at one time not so long ago, and now the building is used for community~based activities, workshops, classes, and seminars; 2/3rds of the building is secure for early~start, head~start, Project TAB, and other early childhood educational oriented programs}, using the elison dyes, the rubber~stamps, and such for making book~marks out of old card catalog index cards and also using them for small thank~you notes for the Wedding/Party. As I used to facilitate support groups there and also have assisted with various classes there, I am somewhat familiar with who is who and what the set~up is. The director knows that I can be fairly quiet, so I remained while they had a luncheon for their planning advisory board.

The key phrase to that would be: can be fairly quiet. Cuz while I was listening with half an ear, my attention scattered to the four winds, I had actually just had the thought that being there was sorta like listening to talk~radio on NPR/MPB. And then, all my attention snapped! into one concentrated place, the director speaking only three feet from me. She'd just asked, "does anyone know a Santa?" I waited, and then said, "can you give me the details on that last thing? cuz I do know a Santa"

So here's the details:

The Emerson Center is co~sponsoring the WEE READ program for pre~schoolers {this would also include kindergarten} along with Starkville Reads, the Public Library and the County Schools. From December first thru the sixteenth, you keep track of all the books your child reads {write down the titles and authors}. Then, on Thursday 17 December, at 5:30pm come to the Emerson School Cafeteria in the upper end of the building and participate in a Family Fun night of celebrating childhood reading. There will be activities, including face~painting {my friends Adria Ware and Kim Green have since signed on as the face~painters}, storytelling, and pictures with Santa.

My Jerry will be their Santa! From 5:30 to 7:30p Thursday 17 December, at the Emerson School Cafeteria. If you have small readers in your family, come down and join in the fun!

So the director and the board were all very happy to have that taken care of, cuz they didn't yet have someone and the other options that they looked into would not have been suitable since the santa's charged between one hundred and one twenty~five, per hour! The director kept saying that god truly does amazing things. She went from not having any one to help to having an entire crew of positions staffed by folks not even serving on the board. Pretty cool, huh?

And as I was driving later that afternoon, I heard on NPR that there is a push among the thousands of Santas this year to promote hand~sanitizing amongst the kids in the photo~lines. This is in efforts to prevent the spread of germs which cause colds, flu {including swine flu}, and other contagious/infectious illnesses. I think this is an excellent idea!

So I popped off eMail asking if the director would be willing to provide sanitizer so that the elves and other assistants could make the sanitizing process part of the Santa photo experience. I'm thinking it'll be cool to sing a song to help kids know how long to spread the gel on their hands. I know that usually the most often sited song is two rounds of Happy Birthday, but I'm sure we can fit on of the classics of the season to the time recommendation.

{humming Frosty the Snowman...my Jerry's mother just sent a sketch of a snowflake earlier with the label that it was Frosty's baby picture!!}

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