As you know, at Monday’s board meeting, we were treated to the marvel of trustee DON WAGNER praising something, namely, the “Adopt-a-Family” Christmas Program that is held annually at Irvine Valley College. He seemed to think that Trustee BILL JAY always shows up at these things playing Santa.
Well, that might be true, but, if so, nobody’s noticed, cuz Bill Hewitt has been claimin’ to be that particular Santa for years.
I ran into some people this morning, who asked that I cover the Adopta event for the blog. I said I would. Mostly, though, I was at school to give a final exam, my last of the semester.
During my morning wanderings, I also ran into classified employees who were hopping mad about yesterday’s announcement of a water shut-off for Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. According to the announcement,
From December 19 through December 20…, the water to the entire Campus will be shut-off to facilitate re-routing pipes to [construction] projects. Portable restrooms will be strategically placed throughout the campus…We apologize for any inconvenience.“How come you didn’t write about that in the blog this morning?” asked one woman. “This is one of Wayne’s deals.”
Wayne? Uh-oh. (Someone had just told me a Wayne Ward story. As you know, IVC's Chief of Police of six years, Owen Kreza, is gone, forever, for reasons yet-to-be-explained [don't hold your breath]. Nevertheless, he's been spotted on campus this week. For instance, on Thursday, he was at the Facilities and Maintenance workers' "team building" BBQ. According to my source, F&M's Wayne Ward bought him lunch.)
I asked the woman to elaborate about the problem with this water shut-off.
“Well, going in a port-o-potty is no fun. Plus where are we supposed to wash our hands? And are they gonna supervise each kid’s visit to the toilet over in Child-Care? They’d better, or those kids are gonna fall right down that hole!”
I imagined that. Splat. She continued:
“Yeah, I can see why they waited until faculty and students weren’t around before doing this, but what about us?"
I said I’d look into it. In truth, I didn't realize that it was an issue until that moment.
Well, I went off to give my final exam and then, at about 11:30, I wandered over to the cafeteria, the site of the Christmas Program. There must’ve been well over one hundred people in there. And, judging by the joyous squallery, they were happy. The food looked great, the staff were all smiles. Even the mice danced a festive dance upon the ceiling tiles, causing a delightful asbestos snow in which the children danced. (Well, I made that last part up, though there've been lots of mice/rat incidents lately.)
Adopta's Xmas Program was clearly a big success. It had already attracted VIPs. Somebody told me that the Chancellor had dropped by for his photo op. I spotted Cal Nelson, the popular and jolly interim VPI, plus three or four other administrators. Plus Glenn (Roquemore, the college president). I think I spotted his young son.
And Santa. He was making the rounds, talking to little kids, uttering his “ho ho ho’s.”
It was Bill Hewitt all right. I spotted Pam, his wife. She was there, she said, to see Bill “play Santa for the last time.” As you know, our Bill has gone big time, for, soon, he will serve a hitch as the president of the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC, pronounced Fack ck ck ck), which is located in faraway Sacramento, land of the Big Skeeter and the Guv Nator.
MY 15 SECONDS OF ELFHOOD
I was feeling all warm and fuzzy, and so I started hanging with Santa as though I were his elf. When some of the little kids froze at the sight of the jolly red fat man, as they sometimes do, I jumped in there like a rodeo clown, saving Santa from the bull. That is, I made goofy faces at the kids. I think they liked ‘em.
Well, OK, this rodeo clown stuff lasted maybe fifteen seconds. But I kept following Santa, which is a little awkward, cuz Bill's got this St. Nick thing down, and he moves fast. Finally, as we neared the chow line, I asked him if I could sit in his lap. I figured he’d just laugh. But no. “Ho ho ho,” he said.
Eventually, we made our way to the other end of the room, where sat Santa’s colorful throne. Well, to make a long story short, I sat on Santa’s lap, and he asked me what I wanted, and I told ‘im, but I can’t possibly repeat that here, because I gave him my real wish. Santa laughed a lusty “Ho ho ho!”
An efficient gal who works in Bill’s office took snaps. (See.) I wondered what she was thinking.
Eventually, I spotted Rebel Girl, who was on campus doing “department chair” duties but who was persuaded to take a break to visit the Christmas program. She explained the Adopt-a-Family concept to me as though I were the world's biggest knucklehead. Evidently, it provides money for a Christmas dinner plus toys to eligible families. Sounds great. It turns out the Reb’s a long-time supporter of Adopt-a-Family.
Well, I had to run, but, on my way out, a woman accosted me and informed me that the “water shut-off” problem was solved. Evidently, the classified union met with Ward and HR (I think) and the upshot was that the water shut-off issue was no more.
“That's great,” I said. Me 'n' the Reb headed out, but not before Cal yelled at us, "Have a SUPER Holiday!"
Three hours later, I was back in my office, and, on my email, I came across a new “water shut-off” announcement. It was a “revised” announcement, and it came from Wayne Ward. It said
From December 21 through December 22, 2006, the domestic water to the entire Campus will be shut-off to facilitate re-routing pipes to [construction] projects. Portable restrooms will be strategically placed throughout the campus…. We apologize for any inconvenience.That’s Thursday and Friday, right? I think the college is closed on those days.
OK, call me Mr. Persnickity—well, don't—but, strictly speaking, Wayne’s email fails to say that the water will NOT be shut off on Tuesday and Wednesday. I mean, strictly speaking, all he’s saying is that, now, there are these two other days that the water will be shut off. Right?
Well, whatever. To all of you, even Wayne—EVEN RAGHU—I offer a lusty "Ho ho ho!" And to all of you, a good-night.
Yes, that's Bill under all that fur.