One of the fun features of the Lovell Holiday Mingle is the variety of “living windows” in downtown Lovell. Windows full of elves and other Christmas characters dot the landscape on Main Street from 5 to 7 p.m.
Returning to the Hen House for her third year is Judy Quarles, better known as Mrs. Santa Claus. Quarles was recruited by then Lovell Area Chamber of Commerce President Sue Taylor, who asked her if she would play a role, and she agreed.
“I thought that would be just right down my alley,” said Quarles. “I can crochet, and I have a Christmas doily there so they know what I’m making.
“I enjoy meeting the kids. They look at me and say, ‘Are you really Mrs. Claus?’ And I answer, ‘Today I am.’ And the adults are kids, too. They wave and smile at you. They are like kids, too. I get a kick out of them.”
Asked what Mrs. Claus wears, Quarles said she has a special red dress for the occasion, and she bought a red apron at the care center gift shop.
“But I lost it, so I borrow Linda Spragg’s,” she said.
But that’s not all.
“It’s kind of cool in the window, so I wear my fuzzy crocs, and I wear sweat pants under my dress, plus I wear a sweater and a lap afghan. John (Lafko) and Sue (Taylor) come by with hot cider and candy. Mrs. Santa Claus has got to have all of those goodies.”
What is the best thing about being Mrs. Santa?
“The little kids because they look so surprised,” Quarles said. “They haven’t seen Mrs. Claus. It’s always Mr. Claus. Then Santa stops by and says, ‘Well, it’s been a year since I’ve seen you. Maybe that’s why we get along.’ And I say, ‘Yup.’”
Quarles moved to Lovell from Jeffrey City four years ago to live near her son, John Graham, who moved to Byron at the time but now lives in Lovell. She is active with many volunteer positions, helping the care center gift shop, Meals on Wheels, Lovell Inc. and the Wyoming Senior Citizen Program’s senior companion program. She just completed two weeks of helping school girls from four different grades learn how to crochet at the LDS Church.
She also helps with various projects at the North Big Horn Senior Center.
And so when the Mrs. Santa Claus opportunity came up, Quarles was quick to say yes. For the woman of many volunteer activities, it was the perfect way to spend a couple of hours, delighting kids and adults alike.
by David Peck