hay

Hay’s Daze: Giraffe knows filling wishes can sometimes be a tall order

Last weekend, I had a lovely breakfast.

“So what?” you may say.

And I enthusiastically answer, “Well, it was an outdoor drive-thru breakfast.”

“OK?” you say, being polite, and then think for a second. And you add, “Everything’s drive-thru these days, so what’s the big honkin’ deal?”

“Well,” I say, with emphasis, “I was served by a 12-foot giraffe.”

You’re probably wondering what on earth I put in my tea before that breakfast. But if I tell you Santa was there too, along with his colourful helpers and a parking lot full of cheerful volunteers, you may obliquely come to the conclusion I’m talking about the fifth annual Christmas Wish Breakfast.

And, bonus: I had candy canes tossed into my car by ladies who were dressed up as Christmas people.

This unique charity of awesomeness is the brainchild of one Lynn Van Laar, who works at City Hall and is also a fellow board member of the Society for Hospital Expansion in Central Albert and has a huge heart, metaphorically speaking, and also a humongous soft spot for children in need.

Especially at Christmas.

“Every child should have a gift to open at Christmas,” Lynn said when I spoke to her several days after the successful event.

To my surprise, she didn’t seem exhausted at all after organizing, modifying, supervising and wrangling a COVID-complicated event where just about everything had to be reinvented.

A world-wide pandemic tends to royally mess things up, but rather than being daunted, Lynn and her committee and sponsors and volunteers became undaunted and collected hundreds of toys for children of all ages, and some serious coin donated by generous folks (let’s call them all angels) who just wanted to do something good for somebody at Christmas, COVID be damned.

And like I said, Santa and his elves were there too, although Santa may have had a surrogate on account of, to me, this jolly old dude looked and sounded a lot like city Coun. Ken Johnston, who just happens to have a white beard of his own. Coincidence?

Thing is, I knew it had to be an actual Santa-Claus-sanctioned surrogate Santa, on account of he and the helper elves, and everybody else except the 12-foot giraffe, were wearing masks, which the real Santa would totally do, because he cares about other people more than himself.

And if you’re wondering about the giraffe, her (or his) smiling face was an acceptable social distance away, being that he towered over the cars by, as I say, at least 12 feet.

So this year, instead of a nice, indoor venue with breakfast and entertainment and a pipe band piping in firefighters who load the toys in an impressive bucket brigade, you stayed in your car with an unwrapped toy in your trunk, pulled up to the toy station where it was removed and placed in a truck destined for the Salvation Army and the Christmas Bureau, drove forward to the surrogate Santa section and collected some candy canes and happy ho, ho, hos, and then pulled up to the 12-foot giraffe who hands you a breakfast in a box.

Then you try to say something clever to him, like: “Wow, I sure look up to you!” And you realize it’s difficult to know if a giraffe is laughing or is possibly offended, but the giraffe simply bows politely and almost puts a dent in your car roof with his face, and you drive away finally feeling the Christmas spirit you’ve been looking for this year.

And man, Lynn’s giraffe and friends can cook a mean breakfast.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker.

Just Posted

A gofundme account has been set up for Lilac the husky, of Blackfalds. (Photo from gofundme)
Dog ends up in coma after a walk in Blackfalds

Dog finds a baggie that likely contained drugs

(Contributed)
Red Deer man reported missing

Red Deer RCMP seek public’s assistance

An attendee of the Maskwacis memorial held on May 31, 2021, for the 215 school children found in Kamloops, B.C. the week before, holds a teddy bear. <ins>The grandstand was filled with 215 bears to represent the lost children. They were offered to residential school survivors at the end of the memorial. </ins>(Photo illustration by Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
Ermineskin residential school survivor: ‘It just brings me back to the cries at night’

Discovery in Kamloops of remains of 215 children a painful time for survivors

Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven before a confidence vote in the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm, Sweden, Monday June 21, 2021. Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven faces a no-confidence vote in the Riksdag parliament, after the Left Party said this week that it had lost confidence in Lofven and his center-left minority government. (Anders Wiklund / TT via AP)
Swedish PM loses confidence vote, sparking uncertainty

Prime minister has one week to call new election or ask parliament speaker to find a new government

A large number of supporters were out Saturday at a rally intended to bring awareness about including Hinduism in the grade 2 portion of the K-6 draft curriculum. As it stands now, Hinduism won’t be taught until grade 6 in the proposed draft curriculum. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Video: Rally to support adding Hinduism to draft curriculum draws crowd in Red Deer

The Hindu community in Red Deer came out in droves on Saturday… Continue reading

Inuk elder Reepa Evic-Carleton light a qulliq, a traditional oil lamp, at a public ceremony to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day on the bank of the Ottawa River behind the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que. on Thursday, June 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Kawai
Singh blasts Liberal ‘hypocrisy’ on National Indigenous Peoples Day

OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he believes the Liberal government… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Border measures start easing in July for fully vaccinated Canadians

OTTAWA — Fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents returning to Canada will… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Canada to unveil travel rules for fully vaccinated citizens, permanent residents

OTTAWA — Canada is set to detail what quarantine rules citizens and… Continue reading

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky poses for a photo in Toronto on Monday, October 17, 2016. Two of Canada’s most prominent athletes are part of the ownership group of a new Las Vegas National Lacrosse League franchise. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michelle Siu
Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash join forces with Las Vegas lacrosse team

League’s 15th team will start play in the fall of 2022

Orlando City and Montreal Impact players take a knee before their MLS match, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Eduardo Munoz Alvarez
CF Montreal finds two new home venues as Gold Cup comes to Fort Lauderdale

Exploria Stadium has been Toronto FC’s home field this year

Police and firefighters respond after a truck drove into a crowd of people injuring them during The Stonewall Pride Parade and Street Festival in Wilton Manors, Fla., on Saturday, June 19, 2021. WPLG-TV reports that the driver of the truck was taken into custody. (Chris Day/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
Officials say deadly Pride parade crash was not intentional

Driver and the victims were a part of the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus family

FILE - In this April 18, 2017, file photo, a conference worker passes a demo booth at Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, in San Jose, Calif. Facebook is launching podcasts and live audio streams in the U.S. Monday, June 21, 2021, to keep users engaged on its platform and to compete with emerging rivals.(AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)
Facebook launches podcasts, live audio service

Handful of podcasts will first be available to people in the U.S.

Intricate cloth masks with Indigenous design made by Teresa Snow. Facebook/ Masks4Maskwacis
‘Masks 4 Maskwacis’ wins Northern Lights Volunteer Award

The group received recognition for their efforts to support their community during COVID-19.

Most Read