All I Want For Christ­mas

The Compass - - NEWS - — Harold Wal­ters lives Hap­pily Ever Af­ter in Dunville, in the only Cana­dian prov­ince with its own time zone. How cool is that? Reach him at gh­wal­

Prom­ise not to scoff at me and I’ll tell you what I want for Christ­mas. All I want is … well, a neck­tie. Lies for me. A neck­tie isn’t the only thing. I still want worsted socks from Mom, warm and wool­lies she knit­ted with her dear ol’ aged fin­gers.

I want gifts from Dear­est Duck, even though I won’t be buy­ing her di­a­monds, un­less you count those in the brand new pack of play­ing cards I in­tend to wrap for her, for those evenings when she hosts the Card Club — and I have to hide out in the base­ment un­til the gag­gle is gone.

“Harry, my hard- to- shop- for Honey,” Dear­est Duck said last week, “give me some hints about what you want for Christ­mas.”

Since then I’ve been to Chap­ters, snapped pic­tures of ex­pen­sive books and texted the im­ages to Dear­est. I ’ve been to Mark’s Work Ware­house, clicked pic­tures of the lat­est Wind River shirts and sent a text to Dear­est’s phone. I’ve been to Cana­dian Tire, sneaked up on a set of socket wrenches and tapped a text.

There’s no way I want a set of socket wrenches. Dear­est Duck knows bet­ter than that. The socket wrench pic­ture I texted for bad­ness.

Nary a text of a neck­tie im­age, you no­tice.

While I do want a neck­tie, I don’t want Dear­est Duck to lodge it be­neath the tree.

The neck­tie I want from Santa Claus.

Pause for Re­flec­tion: Ex­cept for oc­ca­sional wed­dings and an in­creas­ing num­ber of fu­ner­als I don’t wear neck­ties any­more.

There was a time though when I knot­ted a neck­tie daily, a skill I learned soon af­ter my age reached dou­ble dig­its. Those were the days when schools de­manded uni­forms — pants and blaz­ers and ties choked un­der chins.

For frig sake, when I at­tended MUN pro­fes­sors freaked if a neck­tie noose didn’t squeeze a scholar’s col­lar as tight as the draw­string-stran­gled throat of Granny’s coin purse. How­ever, in de­fi­ance of staid ol’ English­men, neck­ties were pais­ley pat­terned or pea­cock-coloured like psy­che­delic fields of flow­ers.

I’m hop­ing a tie from Santa will

In a kind of mon­key-see,

mon­key-do, mon­key snatch the dough, even here in Dun­der­land, in Christ­mas Won­der­land, we’ve aped an Amer­i­can Thanks­giv­ing tra­di­tion and turned it into Cana­dian


bring mem­o­ries of more in­no­cent times.

“Harry, I’m off to The Mall. It’s Black Fri­day.”

“Be safe, my Duck. And don’t for­get, book­stores are sel­dom as crowded as Wal­mart.” See what I mean? In a kind of mon­key-see, mon­keydo, mon­key snatch the dough, even here in Dun­der­land, in Christ­mas Won­der­land, we’ve aped an Ameri- can Thanks­giv­ing tra­di­tion and turned it into Cana­dian crazy.

Oo p s . For­give me for that mo­men­tary di­ver­sion of stump­climb­ing and chest-thump­ing.

I want a neck­tie for Christ­mas be­cause once upon a time in the years be­fore Santa flew in chop­pers, along with a Roy Rogers colour­ing book and — p’raps — a pack of coloured pen­cils, Granny most al­ways gave me a neck­tie.

“It’ll make you look like a lit­tle min­is­ter,” she’d say on Christ­mas morn­ing. Al­low me to back­track. Last year all I wanted for Christ­mas was a James Bond watch. I didn’t get it.

Dear­est Duck gave me — and I don’t know what this gift says about our con­ju­gal con­cu­pis­cence — a pair of flan­nel py­ja­mas.

Some­time be­twixt bed­time and day­light, Santa squooze down our chim­ney and left some­thing I didn’t know ex­isted any­more, a pair of over­shoes the same size as my feet.

The year be­fore that, my let­ter to Santa begged for an iPad. I didn’t get it. Dear­est Duck sur­prised me with a pair of fur-lined slip­pers and a tin of those Qual­ity Street can­dies she loves.

I con­fess I named St. Nick a fat frig­ger when I ripped the rib­bons from a royal blue Mary Maxim sweater from whose back a bloody big moose, uglier than Jabba the Hutt, glared de­fi­antly at any hunter brave enough to point a ri­fle in his di­rec­tion.

“I dare you,” Moosey seemed to say. “Aim at me and I’ll jumped off this sweater and, like Ru­dolph gone rogue, I’ll tram­ple your guts into the muck.”

So, back to my Christ­mas wish for a sim­ple neck­tie like Granny lov­ingly used to give her first- born grand­son.

Af­ter Santa’s weav­ing elf has com­pleted the warp and weft of my neck­tie, maybe his most artis­tic elf might hand-paint a de­sign at its widest point.

A paint­ing of a Moun­tie would be nice, sit­ting stiff in the sad­dle, hold­ing a flagstaff and look­ing as splen­did as any Royal trooper.

Santa, please bring me such a neck­tie.

Fail­ing that, how about a pock­etknife? Thank you for read­ing. Merry Christ­mas!

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