SK Team Paddler Holiday Party Update Christine Burris
Paddlers Christmas Party
Winter is upon us and last night was time again for the Paddlers Christmas Party. This outlandish holiday gathering began long before Rhonda Schwab walked me through my first wet exit. It is the occasion for kayakers from the different clubs all over the Puget Sound to gather and share stories of the year. It is traditionally topped off with a visit from Santa himself who presides over a white elephant gift exchange. Originally held at Rhonda Schwab’s (kayakers Go Coastal) home, the Christmas Party was where Bob Burnett and I first met. Now that Bob and I are hosting the event, we promise to continue the traditions as long as Rhonda plays the part of Santa.
After many years of being drug into a back room with a bunch of girls to practice singing a song to Santa, it is now my responsibility to gather up members of the great men of kayaking choir and drag them off to a quiet place where I coach them through one verse of “Santa Baby.” Usually this process takes a bit of coercing but this year Paul Riek from Sea Kayaker Magazine was determined to modify the lyrics with an even more “Twisted Christmas” theme. A hilarious chaos ensued. –
After the lyrical introduction, numbers were called and each in turn would sit with Rhonda and whisper what they wanted for Christmas.. The selection of gifts began. Some of the more unique items included a Bill Clinton cork screw and an Hillary Clinton Nut cracker.. Someone went home with two lovely salmon steaks which were stationed in the freezer, and Pam Powell was happy to take home Nigel Fosters book; Open Canoe Technique. About half way through the numbers Bob came charging in to the kitchen asking “did you do this?” and pointing to 2012 Rogue Wave Adventures DVD with stylin cover graphics and all. Awesome fast one by Jason Learned! Near the end of the evening when all numbers were called and items were repeatedly stolen, the room was quieted as Rich Hahn presented Bob and I with a treasured gift. Rich Is a craftsman who shares my love of local native art. Last summer during a skill session paddle he asked me what my favorite spirit animals were. It was an interesting question as he wanted me to name 4. Rich hand carved and crafted a bent wood box with my four totem animals, one on each side. The lid is fitted to perfection and emits the lovely aroma of cedar. I was awestruck. What a gift. Gratefully, preventing me from getting too teary eyed someone put in Jason’s new RWA DVD and like good paddlers we all sat around and watched kayak porn. This time made even more fun as many of the people in the room were featured in the photos and video clips.
As I sit with my morning coffee and sift through photos from last night’s fun I am grateful for the wonderful friendships that have come from being involved with this sport and this community.