The first year he arrived at the Christmas party on a horse named May. It was May's last ride before she died. I had reminded Santa that May hadn't been ridden all summer, because she was getting very weak and old, so it probably wasn't the greatest idea. Santa had tried to load our other horse, Joby, but she wouldn't budge for some strange reason. Santa had her all saddled up, but she didn't trust him. So, in desperation, Santa loaded the old mare and off they went to.
We, Jeffrey and I, wrote a newspaper article about the event and it was published in the Cypress Courier. I remember reading Maple Creek's newspaper as a kid, and the reporters always wrote the articles with a lot of little details that most city newspapers do not, so I wrote the article in that style. The article went something like this:
"Santa Rode a Horse
Tonight Santa made an appearance at A&W in Medicine Hat at 5:15 p.m.. He was spotted unloading a mature looking quarter horse from a silver double axle horse trailer attached to a 2002 F350 diesel one tonne white crew cab truck.
Santa sported his traditional red suit with white furry cuffs, tall black boots, a long white beard and curly hair which was topped by his furry red hat with white trim.
Just to spice up the evening, May, the stubborn quarter horse, decide she didn't want to cooperate. She seemed frightened by the icy slope that descended the A&W entrance. She insisted on backing up, over and over again, while Santa tried to encourage her to proceed to the Travel Lodge, where the children of the Cypress County employees anxiously awaited in the lobby for their arrival. Santa had a tough go. His hat flew off, his bells fell to the ground and his coat kept unfastening.
Santa's helper, (me) dressed in a black wool dress coat, snow pants, warm black boots, a fashionable bright pink scarf and an antique black felt hat adorned by a lovely bow, suggested Santa dismount the horse and lead her instead.
Santa agreed and the horse did too. His assistant helped Santa redress and progress was made.
Being a horse of high class, she agreed to walk on the sidewalk, instead of the road, and then allowed Santa to mount and enter the Travel Lodge parking lot, not without a little song and dance, however.
Santa's second helper, a teen aged boy, took turns waiting outside with May while Santa boisterously and enthusiastically handed out gifts in the warm, cozy lobby.
Santa did a splendid job, said his good-byes and Ho-Ho-Hos and then mounted the anxiously awaiting horse outside in the parking lot.
There they posed for photographs and then rode off to the A &W parking lot, as Santa's two helpers followed on foot. The horse was more than happy to head back. Many people walking and driving waved to Santa as he made his pre-Christmas visit.
After a lot of attempts, Santa and his female helper convinced May to get into the horse trailer. A friendly tap on the rear seemed to do the trick.
A family of five children were very excited to see Santa and greeted him. A man and his wife also came over for a look.
Santa and his helpers decided to eat inside at the A &W. As they left, the employees still said, "That was soooo AWESOME!"
The night was a big production, but Santa gave a lot of people something to remember and a story to tell!
That was May's last ride. She went out in a blaze of glory in February of the next year. It was a very sad time, but we were comforted by the memories we had with her, especially as an assistant to Santa.
|May, Me and My First Digital Camera|
He goes out of his way each year to delight the children and adults. He is truly imaginative!
Thanks, Santa. You are a great guy!
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Please excuse the night photos. I didn't have my new flash yet, and I was a rookie at taking night photos.