All I want for Christ­mas 2015

The Compass - - NEWS - Harold Wal­ters 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 gh­wal­ters663@gmail.com.

“Harry?” “Hush, my Duck. Don’t dis­turb me.”

“My good­ness, what could you pos­si­bly be do­ing that is so im­por­tant I shouldn’t dis­turb you?”

“My Duck, I’m com­pil­ing my Christ­mas list. You and Santa will get a copy the minute I’m done.”

“I can hardly wait,” said Dear­est Duck and then she de­parted my pres­ence.

Fig­u­ra­tively gnaw­ing my pen­cil down to a nub, I laboured over my Christ­mas list for half a morn­ing. Fi­nally, af­ter much pon­der­ing and cog­i­ta­tion, my list wasn’t a very com­pli­cated com­pi­la­tion af­ter all.

On a sin­gle sheet of pa­per en­ti­tled Harry’s Item­ized Christ­mas List 2015 was a lone item. 1. A toy I laid my pen­cil down. Truly, all I want for Christ­mas is a toy. But not just any toy. I want a toy that will…that will…

Well, why do we want toys in the first place?”

We want toys to bring us last­ing joy and hap­pi­ness, eh b’ys?

On the first draft of my list I’d writ­ten: Chain­saw.

I thought such a prac­ti­cal gift would pro­vide me with loads of joy and hap­pi­ness. I thought how joy­ful I would be in the back wood­lot with a brand-spank­ingnew chain­saw top­pling the tan­gle of trees Dear­est Duck has been com­plain­ing about for a goodly por­tion of our bliss­ful — oth­er­wise bliss­ful? — mar­i­tal years.

Of­ten — a thou­sand times of­ten — dur­ing those afore­men­tioned years of bliss Dear­est said, “Harry, my layabout love, if those old trees were chopped down we would have a lovely view of Aunt Min­nie’s house.”

Of­ten — a thou­sand times of­ten — in re­sponse to Dear­est Duck’s sug­ges­tion, I thought, “Frig Aunt Min­nie’s house.”

On fur­ther thought, there’d be no last­ing joy. Not a day would pass be­fore Dear­est Duck had moved to the next item on her Nag Harry Un­til He Doe­sIt list. I xed out chain­saw with my black­est

My Im­per­fect

Slant felt-tipped marker, balled up my pa­per and fired it in the garbage.

On the sec­ond draft I wrote: State-of-the-art Sur­round Sound En­ter­tain­ment Sys­tem.

Bank­ing on Santa for such a gift be­cause I knew Dear­est Duck would rather get me a chain­saw, I imag­ined the joy, the last­ing hap­pi­ness top-qual­ity en­ter­tain­ment ap­pa­ra­tus would bring.

I fan­cied my­self hove off in my Lay-Z-Boy, a mug of herbal con­coc­tion at hand, watch­ing one of my favourite movies — Aus­tralia, the one with Wolver­ine Hugh Jackman and that Kid­man girl — on my blu-ray player. I fan­cied the sound of my brand-fire-new Sur­round Sound gear al­most blow­ing the speak­ers in my iAids dur­ing the ex­plo­sive bomb­ing of Dar­win in Aus­tralia’s most ex­cit­ing scene.

Oh the lin­ger­ing joy and hap­pi­ness.

Then I fan­cied Dear­est Duck call­ing me from else­where in the house: “Harry, my au­rally-im­paired love, we’re not both deaf. Turn that racket down.”

I fan­cied Dear­est’s call but couldn’t hear her above the bombers’ roar and only when she stormed into the liv­ing room shak­ing a fist was I aware of her un­hap­pi­ness.

I stuck Sur­round Sound Sys­tem from my list with my felt-tipped marker, balled up my pa­per and fired it in the garbage.

Truly, for half the morn­ing I worked at my Christ­mas list. I added items dream­ing of end­less joy and hap­pi­ness. I sub­tracted items un­til my felt-tipped marker ran bone dry.

My fi­nal item, on the next-to­last page of my note­book, was my largest re­quest: a Sam­sung 65” Curved TV suit­able for wall­mount­ing. I imag­ined bound­less joy… …but only for a sec­ond be­cause Dear­est Duck’s ob­jec­tion cut like a laser into my fan­ci­ful nog­gin: “Harry, not a chance. I’d like room to hang our pic­tures on the wall.”

I blot­ted it out, balled up my pa­per and fired it — along with my bone-dry marker — in the garbage.

Star­ing at the re­main­ing page of my note­book, I re­flected on a Christ­mas gift that in my child­hood brought hours and hours and days of joy and end­less — kinda end­less — hap­pi­ness. The gift cap­ti­vated me. En­chanted me. Be­guiled and be­witched me. Mag­i­cally mes­mer­ized me and car­ried me to realms of end­less bliss. [This was long be­fore Dear­est Duck and decades of mar­i­tal bliss, eh b’ys?]

I con­fess, I re­quested this gift half a dozen Christ­mas ago but Santa in his Ho-Ho, Jolly Ol’ Wis­dom de­cided I needed a dozen pairs — Truly, a dozen pairs! — of ar­gyle socks in­stead.

I fi­nal­ized my Christ­mas list on the last page of my note­book: 1. A spin top Thank you for read­ing. Merry Christ­mas! May your gifts bring you joy and end­less hap­pi­ness!

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