Ken Martin

My wife and I are great fans of Emeril Lagasse, the TV chef. We watch him almost every day and make his excellent recipes on occasion.

A Sunday or two ago we decided to construct one of his soups (Smoked sausage, butternut squash and wild rice. Thank you for asking.) but were lacking some ingredients so a trip to the grocery store was required. I got into the car and headed east up Somerset Avenue.

I had gone about 200 feet when, to my amazement, I saw Frosty, the Snowman, standing on the sidewalk. Things got even more amazing when he waved to me as I drove by. Actually, he was waving to everybody as they went by. Since I was on a time-sensitive errand, I was unable to stop and investigate right then.

On my return trip, Frosty was still there waving at cars as they passed but had now been joined by Santa Claus, who was also waving at passing vehicles. If the vehicles had children in them and stopped, Mr. Claus would hand them candy canes. I really had to find out about this.

I parked my car at home, unloaded the groceries, grabbed a note pad and camera, and walked up to where Frosty and Santa were spreading needed sunshine on this rainy day. As I approached, they both gave me hearty waves and cheery greetings.

I asked them who they really were and found out they were Stanley Sullivan, a Somerset Avenue resident dressed as Frosty, and Joe Crespin, a San Leandro resident, AKA Santa Claus. I told them that I thought what they were doing was great because people were really enjoying it. Horns were honking as cars went by and people in the cars were returning the waves with big smiles on their faces.

When I asked how long they would be doing this, they advised me that it was just for a while that day. Actually they were waiting for the rest of “Linda & Company”, a group that would eventually consist of not only Santa and Frosty, but also a Walking Christmas Tree, Walking Presents, and some Reindeer. Once assembled, they would walk to Eden Villa (a nearby seniors home) to entertain the residents, caroling as they went. (Unfortunately, I became engaged in something and did not see or hear them when they passed my house. My loss.)

A little about Stanley Sullivan: He is the kind of citizen that every neighborhood needs. He walks around our neighborhood most every day smiling and waving to his neighbors. Not only that, he picks up any trash he sees and disposes of it, helping to keep our street and sidewalks clean. Though he probably doesn’t hear it very often, he is appreciated. It is also worth noting that Stanley is a senior citizen himself but still takes time to brighten life for other seniors. Incidentally, “Linda” of “Linda & Company” is Stanley’s daughter. She can be proud of the good will her father spreads in our area.

Now having seen Frosty and Santa Claus in person, I know that Christmas is near. My wife, Patty, and I want to wish a joyous holiday season not only to Joe (Santa) and Stanley (Frosty), but to all my readers and all the good citizens of Castro Valley.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and Happy New Year!

Note to Jill Kaufman: I have seen the statue and am still seeking info on it. Thanks for your input.

If you know of any out-of-the-ordinary activities around Castro Valley that might merit a Side Trip, please contact me at (510) 727-9296 or