Darroll my son, did I ever tell you of the time we dang near done in Santa Claws?

It was back in 19 and 45, when I was a runny-nose sprat of nine. With the end of hostilitys Over There, Chrismass looked to be the best in years.

Things was goin’ grand on the farm and there was no shortage of pusser rum, thanks to the Dingwells Pond lads that come home safe from the merchant marine.

That year Daddy took a noshun that all of Santas fine work thru the war years called fer more’n jest a glass of warm milk and a fresh plate of Mommas ginger snaps. So he layed out a big jug of egg nogg, and poured in the best part of a 40-pounder of the Holey Brown.

When I and Wilma crept down at dawn to inspeckt the load of goods under the tree, by jingo theres the old feller hisself, layin’ like a haystack on the parler floor, snorin’ fit to beat the Wallis 20-30 Daddy picked up in Monkton in 19 and 27.

We was beside ourselfs to see Saint Nick with our own eyebulbs, and Daddy had a good laff too. But Momma near took a canipshun fit, seein’ it was our turn to have the entire Docherty clan fer Chrismass.

Come noon the place is swarmin’ with auntys and unkles and cozzens, and theres the Jolly Old Elf parked next the kitchin door, still dead to the world.

“How can I work with that tub of lard layin’ there?” Momma says “Drag ‘im outside and sober ‘im up.”

So I and a bunch of the older cozzens proseed to commense to do jest that. But even the cold air dont rouse Santa none.

Thats when we get the brite idea. Lets roll’im onto the taboggin and run’im down the hill out back to see how far he gets.

It took some desprate pullin’ and strainin’ but at last he was aboard. One big shove and off he goes feet first, hittin’ nine to the dozzen as the taboggin picks up steam.

And its clear sailin’ all the way. Prackticly. But down at the bottom theres one old stump big as a tool shed that Daddy ain’t got round to pullin’ yet.

You can imajin the rest. The crack like a 30-ott-6 as a leg got busted in three places. The air turnin’ blue from words you never figgered Saint Nick wud of even heard.

Dinner was a tad late that year, with Daddy and the unkles havin’ to fetch Santa to what was then the Charlottetown Hospital.

But a grand time was had by all. Exscept fer Second Cozzen Mel from Albion Cross, who never did show up.

Next time I seen the big feller, he was wearin’ crutches. Turns out he bust his leg on Chrismass, jest like Santa. Same leg too, beleave it or dont.

Merry Chrismass, Darroll. Hope you and yers get stuffed reel good.