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1  noun  ˈbläg, -ȧg   plural -s
2  intransitive verb   -ed/-ing/-s
: to talk pretentiously and usually inaccurately : lie boastfully

I'll always believe in you, Santa

In the Phooliverse, we have Santa Bacon as our winter seasonal mascot...but there will always be a Santa Claus, too, and he is my favorite forever.

The image above shows me as Jane the Phoole at my favorite Renaissance Faire, the Janesville Renaissance Faire ("It's my Ville!"), with Sir Bedevere the Wise on my right and Santa Claus on my left. This is the last time I saw Santa in person. It was too long ago, back in 2014.

Santa has a human persona, John Hansen, and Sir Bedevere is personified by his son, Chris. We've been pals for ages.

I first met Santa while I was being Jane at the Bristol Faire - he and Mrs. Claus and a retinue of their friends and relations arrived at the front gate, attired for a summer holiday, except that all of their summer-holiday clothes had a Christmas theme. Santa's seemingly-tropical-print shirt turned out to have little candy canes and elves all over it; his suspenders were candy-cane striped; and his Bermuda shorts were a little more like lederhosen. The concept was fantastic - I loved meeting Santa while he was on a break, so to speak!

As Jane, I gently enjoined him to overlook my misdeeds and ensure I was on the "Nice" list, even though he was on holiday and I hated to bring up "work" for him. He boomed with "Ho ho ho"s and assured me that he was well aware of all of my mischief, but that I was still hanging on the "Nice" list by a tenuous thread. Whew!

I then got to know Chris, around the same time, because he's a core member of a stalwart crew of cosplayers of Arthur, King of the Britons, and the Knights of the Round Table from MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL. They're the best. THE BEST. I adore them absolutely. No matter what you say to them when they're in costume and character, they'll only respond with lines from the films, and they do it deftly. Chris and his cohorts each portray a variety of characters from that film, and they do other quality interactive and joyful cosplay as well.

Back when I was Jane every weekend of every summer, I would celebrate my own personal birthday at the show as if it were Jane's birthday, always with delightful and memorable results. That year, on my birthday at the show, Chris brought me...A PRESENT FROM SANTA CLAUS. For my BIRTHDAY. In JULY! A little bit of Christmas in July. Santa knew I was really into monkeys at the time, because he's Santa, and he knows everything, but probably also because it was the main thing I talked about most of the time. So Santa had his elves make me a beanie-baby gorilla, with a Santa hat and a piece of Christmas mint candy in its hand. Just for me! I keep it always.

Santa is forever. But John is mortal, and he has recently entered hospice care after a period of exhausting illness.

I wish Mrs. Claus (his sweet wife Barbara) and Chris and the whole Hansen family strength through this difficult time and send all of them so much love.

I will always believe in you, Santa. Thank you. Love and peace to you and all of yours.

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