Every year, I manage to get wrangled into being Santa for 2-6 gigs. Believe me, it takes a lot of arm twisting to get me to do it (not!) Since JC and I share a common birthday, his particular holiday has superseded my celebration. So I get my revenge by portraying his emissary in the Red & White garb as often as possible. Last year, I actually got paid 300 bucks to play Kris for a weekend and had my own modeling agent!

I had a few other opportunities as well, but one of my longest standing Santa portrayals has been with the Tohoku Canada - Japan Society. In his role as lackey for Tokiwagi, Alex portrayed Santa for TC-JS before I arrived, but once I pulled into town, my rotund physique was a natural to take his place. Alex cheerily became my trusty sidekick, "Treeboy", and we would dish out prizes to the masses via a Bingo game. As the years have gone by, I missed out as Mr. Kringle once or twice, but I think I've HoHoHoed my way through 5/7 times.

Treeboy's lovely wife and daughter (Yuko & Kaede) also attended. Kaede is a few weeks shy of her first birthday and I'm very proud to be the first Santa that she lays eyes upon.

For the first time that I recall, the now-retired vice-principal of Tokiwagi (Kikiwada-sensei) was not in attendance. Nor was there any Tokiwagi presence there (apart from Alex) at all and what makes this unusual is, that for all previous years, music has been provided by members of their school band. One year I horribly botched "My Way" accompanied by a sax player and pianist. This year's entertainment was provided by "The Ron Davis Trio". Ron is a pianist who hails from Toronto and I recognized him from somewhere and more surprisingly, he recognized me. (If any of my friends out there know the connection, please enlighten me. I probably heard him play at the Rex Hotel in Downtown TO sometime years ago, but neither of us could figure out the familiarity.) Anyway, with some Bostonian cellist named Brent Nussey and a ripping Japanese drummer (whose name I can't read) played 4 tunes. #1 was an original tune entitled "D'hora" (a quote from Apocalypse Now perhaps?), "It Might as Well be Spring", "Silent Night" and "Santa Clause (sic) is Coming to Town" rounded off the set. I liked them a lot and I'll try and see if he's playing in Toronto next time I'm there. http://www.rddavis.com/

Save a spot for me there next year. Good grub, a few presents worthy of re-gifting and an opportunity for me to make an ass of myself. A perfect night out.

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