On the Other Side of the Coin

Editor’s Note: Murray Martin gives WUY permission to share this poem free of charge every holiday. We wish you a safe and Merry Christmas, and please drive responsibly at all times of the year.

In the early 1970s my brother was killed shortly before Christmas by a drunk driver. His wife died of cancer two years previously. Now after being killed by a drunk driver, Arnold (Rusty) left behind four children, one of whom was a police officer in the city they lived in, back in Ontario. I sat down and wrote the following poem. It was played over the Orillia, Ontario radio a number of times,  just before Christmas for a number of years. In the background was playing Silent Night.


There are shouting joys of laughter in the local pub this night,
The closing down of the spot checks have been tied up nice and tight,
So drink up my lads and spend your money fast,
Let’s toast to the halt of the spot checks, now isn’t that a blast.
Who says I can’t drink and drive, I’ve done it many times,
I haven’t had an accident nor have I paid a fine,
So I drink a half a dozen, sometimes more or less.
When half cut, who says I’m not driving at my best.
Curse those stupid spot checks, we could only drink a few,
We were forced to save our money, what a stupid thing to do.
It meant more money for Christmas and maybe shoes for little Sue,
I had to miss the merry making, and well, Sue’s old shoes will do.
We don’t need those spot checks, they spoiled all our fun,
So drink up my hardies, those spot checks were so dumb.
Now we can down all we like, the Beer, the Rye, and the Rum.
Hell, now it’s time for closing, but we have nothing to fear,
So Merry Christmas and a good old drunk New Year.
Sure I can drive Harry, I’ve only had a few,
A half dozen more or less and stop saying my time is due.
I can drive with the best of them, I’ve done it time and again,
I’ll drive right pass that cop and there is not a thing he can do
What do you mean, slow down for that corner, I didn’t see no kid,
Wh-wh_what was that thump I heard and stop saying I hit a kid.
Stop saying I shouldn’t drank so much, there is no more spot checks to run,
So Merry Christmas and drink up, there is still that fifth of rum.
An hour past and a knock did come upon the household door,
A policeman with hat in hand asked to come in and close the door.
Your little girl was hit by a car and left there in the snow,
They say it was a drunken driver, but there is little more we know.
You see, the spot checks are cancelled, and we have no more control.
The hospital was silent as he walked through the door,
He reached out and took the hand that seemed to be growing cold.
I waved to you dear daddy, as I saw your car draw near,
I guess you didn’t see me, it’s your merry time of year.
He stood there shocked, as her eyes closed and her little hand grew cold,
If only there had been a spot check, he would not have drank so bold.

Thank you for bringing the magic of Christmas to life in Whitehorse

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