On the Sunday before last, the Tall Lady and I went to the North Van store to be Photo Elves, and I got to take a picture of Santa Bruce with five very patient and well-behaved cats on his lap. Let's see the United Nations top that one!
Last Sunday, we volunteered at the Grandview store, where one of us would take the pictures, while the other wore the Red Suit. In answer to the question, which was done by whom, I will only say that Santa required no additional padding on Sunday afternoon.
Now, Karen Duncan takes VOKRA's fundraising events very, very seriously, and the volunteer she puts in charge of them is always one of her bravest and mightiest warriors. On Sunday, we had two (Shelley and Paula), and we also had Karen herself nearby in case either of them faltered or fell. With all of the other elves who turned up for the shift, there were times when the VOKRA volunteers outnumbered the customers.
Our shift began at 1:30 pm, and at 1:31, the Tall Lady discovered that her camera's white balance refused to be set for the store's fluorescent lights. At 1:32, the memory cards that had been provided by Petsmart decided that they didn't like her snooty digital SLR. It was around 2:15 that both printers began running out of ink, and by the time that the cartridges were replaced at 2:45, we'd also run out of picture frames. The prices for the photos were lowered to five dollars, and that's when the lineup really started!
Our friend Norma, who got to play Santa at a similar event a few years ago, still wakes up screaming when she recalls the taste and smell of the manky, old nylon beard in her nightmares. It is the same beard, Norma, it is the same beard...
All of the costumes are beginning to show their age, and the one that our Santa wore had one particular tired trouser seam, which threatened to earn this year's fundraiser a PG rating, and Santa a place on the VPD Naughty List for 2010.
Thanks to all of the cats and dogs, their people, the Petsmart staff and the VOKRA volunteers for making this event work. While we had long lineups, hitches, glitches and nearly catastrophic costume failure, we also had wonderful poses, cold, wet noses, wagging tails and big, sloppy puppy kisses. Everyone is going on the Nice List this year.
Nobody growled, snapped, snarled, piddled on Santa's lap or tried to bite the Photo Elves. As a matter of fact, Karen has been a good girl all year.
Let's do it again next Christmas!