Friday, December 27, 2013



A lot of years have passed since the word magician Dr. Seuss introduced us to the Grinch in 1957. But nothing happened this bad to Christmas until the Grinch seduced Mother Nature into freezing every last damn tree and Hydro pole in Ontario.
They became Evil Twins. I will never forgive them because Christmas is sacred magic.
 I love everything about it, even the bloody commercialism that starts just after Thanksgiving. Even when the politically correct jerks try to turn Merry Christmas into the offensively bland Season's Greetings, I can still smile while I contemplate shoving a large icicle where the sun doesn't shine.
To me the central message, which should be acceptable to all except arms manufacturers, of peace on earth good will to men, is one that we should all cherish, even the feminists, because peace on earth good will to persons just doesn't work.
I guess all the scribes drafting the wonderful language of the King James Version of the Bible just didn't think they had to kowtow to feminism because every woman thinks, starting at five in kindergarten, that they really run the world while the men wonder about other unimportant topics like is there enough beer to last through Boxing Day.
I had a few years after my cousins suggested it was time for me to live downtown in a rooming house when I really didn't have much of a Christmas. Both my sisters lived on farms with long, long, long lanes, and just getting there in my Austin Healey, which could get hung up on a snowflake, was an advanture. But I always managed to salvage something out of the day, which I guess prepared me for this Christmas which was so cold that I even forgot what day it was when I managed to get my joints bending enough for me to totter down the stairs.
I wasn't saying ho ho ho, I was saying uh uh ooh.
My tradition of staying close to the hearth hung with stockings and not doing much has worked, but unfortunately not all the time.
I have made it a rule never to go out Christmas Eve, which was ruined once by Immigration when they found in a refugee camp the husband of one of the boat people families I had sponsored into Canada and flew him here on Christmas Eve.
It would be, they thought, a great story for the newspaper on Christmas Day. Except newspapers don't publish on Christmas, something everyone knew except for the Immigration.
So I drove through a storm to Pearson, collected him, drove him to the eastend, reunited him with his family, who paid no attention to me for obvious reasons, and then went back home not having heard English spoken for several hours or having any nog.
 I got up on Christmas Day, wrote the story, skidded to the Sun in the slush, gave them the film and story, and was rewarded on Boxing Day with the Page One photograph being credited to a photographer who never even was forced to leave his blasted house.
So the Grinch has taken a few runs over the years. I would say warmup runs but there is nothing warm about the creature.
There was a sad time devoid of any humour,  the terrible night I left the house by the side door to play Santa to some neighbourhood kids. I emerged into the flashing red glares of emergency lights.  A neighbour on his way to his church to sing carols had been struck by a hit-and-run driver who was never found. He ended his life in a coma that lasted for years.
We start each Christmas Day with smoked salmon while we play John McDermott, my colleague from the glory Sun days, who becomes one of the angels bending down from the heavens with his carols.
No music this year. We ate the salmon  huddled around the gas fireplace, and then Mary said she had to be driven to Mass. I said hopefully that I thought the power was off at Our Lady of Sorrows but those Catholics faced down the Grinch and worshipped and even dared to use the word which derives from the first Christ Mass.
What I liked about the aftermath to the Grinch's tomfoolery with frozen water this year is that some radio stations were still playing carols on the weekend  in recognition, I think, that many of us were robbed of our carol fix this year by the blackout. Instead of playing carols nonstop for a  couple of days on the CD player, I was just trying not to freeze.
I am already looking forward to Christmas next year. I was going to look for generators in the Boxing Day sales but I suspect most of Ontario no longer trusts Hydro and are buying every generator, flashlight and battery in sight.
I have left the holiday with one grateful memory. At least my phone worked. All  those smug kids waving their smart phones at me and telling me that landlines are used only by silly old farts just learned a new lesson. Don't put all your faith in new technology until you are really sure it  will work all the time.
Look at the lesson we just learned about electricity. We have had it in homes for more than a century but obviously there are still problems. Give Hydro a few more decades and it may actually work all of the time, and the electricrats will work all, or most, of the time, especially when overbilling.


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