Monday, September 13, 2010

Santa Sightings

For several years now, Bill has been mistaken for Santa, Pere Noel, Santa Claus.  Different countries, different names.
Maybe it's the twinkle in his eye that makes them Believe!

The first that was really memorable, was at the kick off party for the Leukemia Cup in New Orleans.  The honored patient was just barely 3 years old.  When she spotted Bill, during one of the speeches, she pointed at him and shouted, "Ho! Ho!"   At the after regatta party, she was again there, but this time much deminished by chemo.  She was in her Daddy's arms, when she spied Bill.  She reached out to gently touch his beard, and softly said, "Oh, Ho! Ho!"  Everyone nearby had tears in their eyes.
Visiting the Eiffel Tower, March 2008

In France, shortly after Christmas, we met a very small girl walking down the sidewalk in front of her parents.  She saw Bill and immediately started speedtalking in French.  The only words we could clearly understand were Pere Noel.  The parents were aghast!  until Bill leaned down and said, "Bonjour, Mademoiselle!  Joyeux Noel!"

The same day, we were followed by a group of boys, about 8 years old, around the market place.  Finally one of them summunded the courage to ask, "Ete vous Pere Noel?"      Bill smiled and replied, "C'est possible."  Brave boy ran back to his pack, excited explaining what has happened.  They all stared, eyes wide, then stood up straight and looked on their best behavior.  Better to be on the nice list than the naughty one.
Sometimes he's just Uncle Bill explaining how the camera works.

The response in Ireland was a little different. It was the parents who noticed Santa! Shopping at Tesco in Ballymoney, a man with 2 little ones in the shopping cart, pointed at Bill as they passed, "Look, even Santa has to shop for groceries."  Wide eyed wonder!
Even Santa enjoys a pint.

In the large pedestrian area of Belfast, we past a father and son seated at an outdoor cafe.  The little boy spied Bill, then looked at his father, who said, "Look, it's Santa."  At this point he caught my eye, I smiled and mouthed, "Yes", with a thumbs up.  The little boy was so very excited, looking between his father and me.  The father, who was behind his son, mouthed, "Thank you!".  Bill never noticed all of this as he was busy window shopping.  Getting ready for next Christmas?

Then there were the 20-something men on the street in Dublin.  One commented as we walked by, "Hey old man, do you know you look like Santa?"  My response?  "Better watch it guys, you may end up on the Naughty list."  Even as adults, there was that look of "Oh, NO!"

Yes, it's fun hanging out with Santa.  Does that make me Mrs. Claus?

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