My first Santa Claus Parade
Bob had told me about how our cat, Obi-Wan had become a minor celebrity, riding with Bob in his MPP golf cart in the annual Streetsville Santa Claus Parade. This was Obi-Wan’s 6th annual appearance in the parade. This I had to see, and I went along to help Bob decorate the golf cart, which comes from Ward 11 Councillor George Carlson, who arranges to borrow them from Brae Ben Golf Course. It was a cold and drizzly, grey Sunday at mid-day when we had parked the car at Streetsville GO, and rode the shuttle bus with other attendees to the parade marshalling area, near Britannia Road between the tracks and Erin Mills Parkway. More than 100 floats were getting ready to walk the three kilometre route from Britannia Road to about the back of the Streetsville GO station on Queen Street.
I sat with Obi-Wan, bundled in his basket, in one of the golf carts while Bob went and got the keys to his golf cart. He drove up and picked me up with Obi-Wan warm and cozy in his basket. No parade participant was as well-treated as was our pussycat. We drove to where we could take our decorations out of the bags, and put Bob’s MPP tent card on top of the cart, fastened with string. Similarly, we attached Christmas wreaths to either side. Our umbrella kept the rain from blowing into the cart. It cleared up just as we were set to go, and Obi-Wan came out of his basket to assume his position sitting on Bob’s lap. He knows how to do his “cat wave,” with only a little prompting.
By the time we neared the right-turn from Britannia onto Queen Street, with the crowds lined up several deep, I could plainly see that Bob had not exaggerated all these years. Old and young, people knew Obi-Wan by name!
- “Hi Bob. Hi Obi-Wan.”
- “Look, there goes Obi-Wan. Hi Obi-Wan! Merry Christmas.”
- “Merry Christmas, Bob. Hi Obi-Wan!”
People really and truly knew our cat, by name, all along the parade route. The photographers, both from the papers and from the crowd, aimed for us, and tried to get a close up of Bob and the cat. The Rogers TV camera zoomed in for a close and lingering shot, though at this writing, I have not seen the rebroadcast of the 2011 Santa Claus Parade yet. Yes, it really was fun, and now I get why Obi-Wan has become the minor celebrity that he is. By the way, if you have a Facebook account, you can become Obi-Wan’s friend. Click here to go to Obi-Wan’s Facebook Page.
Bob drove the golf cart to the back of the Streetsville GO Station, and we removed the decorations, and took Obi-Wan to the car along with everything we had brought. I stayed with Obi-Wan in the cart while Bob drove the golf cart over to Vic Johnston Arena to return it, and walked back to drive us home. We actually had to race home, feed the two cats, measure Obi-Wan’s blood glucose, and do a quick change in order to drive to the Ram Mandir for their celebration of seniors.
We had one tired cat and two equally tired owners that evening.
By mid-December, our home was decorated, and ready for the Holiday Season. Our friends and family had a blessed, peaceful and happy time during Christmas. After a frenetic summer and fall, in which Bob won his third election, we have got the outside and the yard all packed away and sheltered for the winter, and we were ready to settle in for cold weather. Mississauga still had no snow at Christmas, and the cats enjoyed their stroll in the yard each morning. The Christmas tree was decorated, and resplendent in its colour celebrating the Season. Obi-Wan and Bébé both like to take naps beneath the Christmas tree. They are indeed the Christmas cats.
Many of our friends have by now received a piece of the Christmas fruit cake that Zachary and I made (see picture above) in December. Bob confirms that it was our best Christmas cake ever.