Bring on the SantasBy
Before we leave the subject and the scales and bones and gift-wrapping of Christmas behind, one last glimpse of holiday merriment. I wasn’t there, I’m sorry to say — I was sorry to say it the day it occurred, too, which was December 21.
The event: A “corteo,” or boat procession, in the Grand Canal, composed of anyone who wanted to row as long as he or she was dressed as Santa Claus (or “Babbo Natale,” as he’s known here).
The reason: First, because it seemed like a fun thing to do. Second, because it seemed like an amusing occasion for the Coordinamento delle Remiere (the association of rowing clubs) to give a prize and a big round of applause to the dwindling group of hardy souls who have rowed in all 40 Vogalongas. I say “dwindling” because in May there were 24 such persons, and on Santa Sunday there were 22.
The special bonus: Fog. Fog and just enough wind to make the air feel even sharper. But would this deter anyone willing to pull out the boat and pull on the red-and-white outfit? Obviously not.
Because I was busy elsewhere, Lino armed a modest sandolo and headed for the lineup joined (happily for Lino and I think also happily for the others) by Gabriele De Mattia, a former rowing student of his and ex-cadet of the Francesco Morosini Naval School, and his girlfriend, Francesca Rosso. She had never rowed before, but Lino soon took care of that.
So the three of them spent the morning rowing, and Lino was awarded a red pennant, such as those given to the winners of races here, with his name on it, and everybody was happy. Especially when the sun finally came out.
So a big shout-out to Francesca, who when she wasn’t rowing, was taking pictures. If she hadn’t been there, you all would just have had to imagine it. As would I. This is better.