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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Toast season properly with bad Santa

Here comes Santa Clark. Here comes Santa Clark …

I’m feeling merrier than Tiny Tim after an eggnog-and-rum with a Ritalin chaser.

My seasonal buzz began last week, when I got the flattering news that Spokane’s civic boosters view me as the Jolly Old Elf.

This is not the first time a city official has called me Santa.

No, wait a second.

That was Satan.

Anyway, my new role comes from Jeanna Hofmeister, vice president of the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Here’s all you need to know about the visitors bureau. This is the same group that stuck us with our clunky motto, “Spokane. Near Nature – Near Perfect.”

The CVB, in other words, has a history of bursts of dubious judgment.

(As far as I’m concerned there was nothing wrong with the old slogan – “Spokane. Pull My Finger!”)

But as I was saying, this started when Hofmeister gave Clement Moore’s timeless “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” a localized twist.

“Spokane Before Christmas”

’Twas weeks before Christmas, and all through Spokane,

the people were working as hard as they can.

Placing stockings and elves in store windows with care,

in hopes kids of all ages might look in and stare.

Cute. But what really lit my yule log appeared a few stanzas later.

Then what to my wondering eyes should appear?

But Doug Clark in a sleigh, with eight people to steer.

His humor, as always, was lively and quick.

But I couldn’t believe Doug had a chance at St. Nick.

When more rapid than eagles his one-liners came.

And he whistled and shouted and called some of them names!

“Now Verner! Now Shogan! Apple, French – let’s not blush.

On Snyder! On Corker! McLaughlin and Rush!

To the top of the skyride! To the top of the wall!”

Calling out barbs at each as they raced for City Hall.

Last Thursday night I had the thrill of hearing it performed in its entirety live at the Spokane Convention Center by none other than Harry Sladich, the CEO and president of the visitors bureau.

Sladich was part of the entertainment for Toast the Season, a holiday gathering that included dinner and music from the Central Valley High School Jazz Band, University High School’s Lirico Chamber Singers and a young pianist.

Sladich stole the show thanks to the CV Jazz Band, which enhanced his recitation with interludes of snappy yuletide swing.

Here’s the back story on Toast the Season. Christmas office party bookings are down this year because of the economy. So Johnna Boxley, the Convention Center’s general manager, dreamed up Toast the Season as a community holiday party open to anyone.

Maybe next year Santa Clark will make a personal appearance with his eight inane deer.

“Now dash away! Dash away! Outta my sight!

“You City Hall hacks cause nothing but blight!”

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at
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