Man adds to the magic at Christmas in the Park

Published 10:44 pm Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas in the Park has a long history of inspiring peaceful, happy memories.

It’s likely that Kalin Boleware, like hundreds of others, already had a special place in her spirit for the magical wonderland where colored lights illuminate the darkness and Christmas carols resound through the fresh, cool air and are accented by the laughter of children.

But on Friday night the magic was compounded.

Boleware’s boyfriend, Tyler Lindsey, enlisted the assistance of Santa Claus and an accommodating elf to give her a pre-Christmas surprise.

He bought an engagement ring and gave it to Jeff Boone, who works for the city of Bogalusa and helps keep things running smoothly at Cassidy Park during its annual transformation, to pass along to Santa.

Then, while they were strolling through the park enjoying the displays, Lindsey had to get Boleware to take the detour to the tent where children were lined up to tell Santa their wish lists.

By the time he managed that and the young couple approached the jolly, whiskered one, Santa was ready.

So was Toni St. Philip of the YMCA Youth Photo Club, who had the job of taking pictures of the kids with Santa. She documented what happened next for posterity.

“Santa asked Tyler what he wanted for Christmas,” St. Philip said. “He said a truck and an engagement ring for Kalin. Santa said he would see what his elf helpers could do. He then produced the ring in the box and gave it to Kalin.”

To the delight of friends, family, total strangers and most of all the lady suddenly and unexpectedly in the spotlight, Lindsey then got on his knee in front of Santa and asked Boleware if she would be his bride.

In Santa’s tent, surrounded by colored lights in both playful and solemn shapes, a line of hopeful children and the brotherly love of the season, with tears in her eyes, she nodded her head and said “yes.”

“We had a large crowd,” St. Philip said. “People were crying and hollering. Complete strangers were happy for them. It was beautiful to watch them in that happy moment.”