On The Beach
With Beverly Baxter
T’is The Season
So, I was laying in bed on a wistful chilly Saturday morning; not fully awake, sans the jolt of that morning’s first cup of coffee, when the phone rings. It’s a cheerful Joe Mure’ and I’m vaguely half-consciously remembering that tonight Joe will highlight the cause of Juvenile Diabetes when he lights up his home, turning it into a beacon called “The Little North Pole” where thousands will join him in the festivities, as well as his crusade against a disease that afflicts thousands of children. Joe had enlisted my help earlier in the week with various media outlets....so why was he calling so early in the morning?
“Good Morning, Beverly! So how do you feel about helicopters and fire engines?” was something like how his robust greeting went. Who needed coffee? The first sentence was jolting enough. “Hmmm, what do you have in mind, Joe?” I was not prepared for his answer. “How would you like to be Mrs. Santa Claus?” I kid you not. Now, if you know Joe and are familiar with all the noble work he does on behalf of children, then you know that you just say “Yes!” He has that effect. Only the word had some trouble leaving my lips. It was more like a slow “yyyyyes!” “I never heard you stutter before, Beverly!” He wanted an emphatic YES as in no questions asked, no problem, sure!” “O.K. great, I’ll see you later!”, was his matter of fact reply.
I hang up the phone and all of a sudden the tone of the day is clear and it’s the color red! First thought: what do I wear? I mean, what does a Mrs. Santa Claus wear? I run to my closet. It’s a sea of black. Where oh where is that red cape i once had. No time to search. Next thought: call Andreas. He must have something in his back vault somewhere. He’ll know what to do. I call the Andreas Nicholas Fur Salon and Andreas answers. He, too, sounds like he hadn’t had that first cup of coffee. This will surely get him up. “Andreas, I need you big time! Do you have anything that Mrs. Claus would wear!” THAT Mrs. Claus! As in SANTA! Tonight! For the kids...Joe Mure... Little North Pole...Juvenile Diabetes! ...”All of a sudden, his day took on a new dimension! “Come right over! I have just the coat!”
Sure enough, when I entered the salon, Andreas went into the back; and like the powerful wizard, he returned with a fire-engine red sheared mink coat that only Mrs. Claus would wear! And on merely a handshake, he gave me the coat on loan. Thanks to Andreas’ generosity, I became, and the children had, Mrs. Claus!
I met Santa, perfectly played by Jim Curley, at the home of Joan and Don Hart, who were gracious enough to invite us to have use of their home where we could hide out and transform into our costumes. It seems every home in Neponsit was hosting holiday gatherings that evening and it really got us all in the spirit of the moment. At one point, Joan announced, “Your ride is here and it’s parked out front!” And with that, Santa and Mrs. Claus climbed onto a fire truck and into a basket where we would be elevated into the sky. As we made our way toward the Little North Pole, we could hear the caroling, and then the thunderous cheer, “Santa’s coming! Santa’s coming!” It was a chant heard throughout the town. And then we just appeared, as if by magic, as we descended from the sky!
There is something about rising to the occasion of Christmas; in my case, literally rising to the occasion in the basket of a fire-engine, and being part of the magic that makes a child spellbound. To be on the makeshift stage in front of the magestically adorned Mure Home and watch the children as they cued up to sit on Santa’s lap and hear their whispers in his ear. Their innocent requests went from the latest ipods, soocer equipment, dolls...to the adorable, “can you make my mommy give me a baby brother?” to the heart-wrenching, “can you make my daddy come home?” Some were skeptical like Timmy Flynn’s girls; but at their father’s prodding, they tugged on Santa’s beard and said, “See, he’s real!” But all, and most of all, they believed.
A personal note of thanks to Joe Mure’ for asking me to be part of the festivities. When we hear that Christmas bell ring, we will all be reminded of that angel amongst us who certainly has his wings. Thanks, Joe.
***The Mure’s will host their annual cocktail party this Saturday night at 7:30 pm at the Belle Harbor Yacht Club. The evening will include an open bar, buffet, music, auction; and of course, the occasion to celebrate the holidays with one’s neighbors. A donation of $100 is suggested and will go towards the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and to our local Peninsula Hospital in its expansion of the Juvenile Diabetes Treatment Center.
***Ed O’Hare, of Broad Channel, will be collecting Toys for Tots again this year. You may drop of toys at the Broad Channel Fire House or the Sands Point Physical Therapy.
***Also happening around on our town this Saturday night is the Rockaway Homeowners and Residents Association’s Holiday Party at the Knights of Columbus. The occasion will celebrate the activism of John Lenihan, who will be honored as the association’s Man of the Year; and Steve Stathis, President of The Graybeards, who will be presented with the Community Recognition Award. I hope you will join us as we fete these two extraordinary individuals. A word of special gratitude to Mary Lenihan who works so hard on behalf of the association and does it all so impeccably well.
***I am pleased to announce the selection of Thomas Ryan as our Grand Marshal in our annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. Mr. Ryan is the Secretary Treasurer of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). A native of Queens, he is a graduate of St. Johns University and received his Law degree from Fordham Law School and a Masters Degree from Notre Dame where he was a former Teacher. The parade committee is honored that Mr. Ryan will proudly lead our parade.
***For terrific gift ideas, please support our local businesses. You will find great gifts at places like the Gift is Love, Andreas Nicholas Fur Salon, A&J Jewelers, The Rockaway Perfumerie, The Rockaway Artists Alliance, The Museum Store at The Wave, The Surf Shop, floral arrangements at our many florists, or gift certificates to of our local gyms or restaurants. It’s all about Rockaway! You get the idea!
***To everbody’s wonderful Aunt Jean Kyne of Breezy Point, I hope you are feeling better real soon.
***Birthday wishes to Alison Lane and Dr. Kathleen Sharkey!