My sister reminded me of something the other day. Something I’d tried to forget, it was so traumatic. Something which, whenever I’ve thought about it over the years, always made me feel creepy and slightly soiled.
What could be so horrible?
The Santa Boat.
Growing up on Orcas Island, WA, was unique in many ways. One of those ways was that Santa, rather than sliding into town on a sledge as he might here in Minnesota, would sail up to the Orcas Landing in a ship.
Well, a boat. A grubby, frightening boat, filled with terrifying creatures impersonating elves.
What I mean is, Santa came in an old boat and he had pirates and clowns for a crew.
He scared me to death.
The dreadful pirates were gaudy and loud and I have a memory of one of them trying to kiss my friend’s mother.
As everyone knows, clowns are horrible anyway. Add raunchy pirates masquerading as elves and you have one strange tradition. I don’t remember much about Santa himself. I presume he was round and bearded and tattooed. He had to be to fit in with that crew.
Now, in the Santa Boat’s defense, I only attended once (that I remember) and I don’t know if every year was quite as raucous as that one was. Nor am I sure if the tradition continues or if it went the way of most other pirate ships the world over, Somalia excluded.
All I know is that no toy or candy or promise of gifts to be delivered down the chimney on Christmas morning, could induce me to set foot on the Santa Boat ever again.
Anyone else have horrifying Santa memories?
PS – I do know for sure that the Santa Boat still goes to Waldron Island, another island in the San Juans. I sure hope that it’s less frightening for those Waldron kids…