House of Woolen Santas

Peter
Peter Jackson
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CBC Radio's Morning Show used to air a narration of Kevin Major's "House of Wooden Santas" in the days leading up to Christmas. The daily segment would come on a little too early for my liking. I was usually still trying to snatch a few extra winks before dragging myself out of bed. The clock radio would often be on, and the broadcast would weave its way through my semi-conscious dreams. The story, therefore, went something like this:

Jeff Gilhooley and his dog ... check that. Jesse and his mom moved to a new house outside the city, where they could live more cheaply. The landlord, Mrs. Wentzell, let them stay there, even though they couldn't afford to pay rent up front. The housing situation was a hot topic of debate at St. John's City Council last night. Mayor Andy Wells said there's no way artists like wood carvers should be given subsidized housing. They should get real jobs like everyone else.

CBC Radio's Morning Show used to air a narration of Kevin Major's "House of Wooden Santas" in the days leading up to Christmas. The daily segment would come on a little too early for my liking. I was usually still trying to snatch a few extra winks before dragging myself out of bed. The clock radio would often be on, and the broadcast would weave its way through my semi-conscious dreams. The story, therefore, went something like this:

Jeff Gilhooley and his dog ... check that. Jesse and his mom moved to a new house outside the city, where they could live more cheaply. The landlord, Mrs. Wentzell, let them stay there, even though they couldn't afford to pay rent up front. The housing situation was a hot topic of debate at St. John's City Council last night. Mayor Andy Wells said there's no way artists like wood carvers should be given subsidized housing. They should get real jobs like everyone else.

"In the House of Wooden Santas," began Jesse's mom, "we welcome Sunny Santa. But expect a few flurries later today. Temperatures on the northeast Avalon should stay just below the freezing mark."

"Booor-ing," said Jesse as he slumped on the sofa. His mother had moved the TV out of the room. That means he couldn't watch the special report coming up later tonight on "Here and Now." Chris O'Neill-Yates takes a closer look at a new health-care report that hasn't even been written yet. Meanwhile, back in the "House of Wooden Santas," Senator Jesse Helms says Canadian companies with interests in the U.S. should face prosecution if they conduct business dealings with Cuba. Canadian entrepreneurs are incensed. Mrs. Wentzell isn't impressed, either. She just got a letter from Revenue Canada telling her if she's not a good girl, she'll get two lumps of coal with her next tax assessment.

Jesse and Jonathan showed off their shepherd outfits. "Hurray," said Reverend Agnew. "Hurray," said Jesse's mom. "Bullfeathers," said Mayor Wells. "Those dogs are nasty and people have no business owning them." The shepherds, meanwhile, had to be put down. The little angel was not seriously hurt in the incident.

The next day, Jesse and Jonathan were charged with two counts of arson. No one was home when the fire broke out at No. 23 Wentzell Ave. Police say the two boys were playing hockey on their homemade rink when the incident occurred. But because it's Christmas, they will be charged anyway. And the roads were slippery and snow-covered at the time.

Jesse gave his m\oher a big hug.

"It's not what you see, it's what you believe, right?" Jesse said. "Otherwise, life would be pretty boring."

"That's right." said his mom.

"Because you've got to hold on to what you believe in. Do you believe in magic? If seeing is believing, then hearing is unbelieving. And believing's just another word for nothing left to lose. And I believe I can fly, and I believe if I fall in love this time it will be forever. Fly me to the moon, let me play among the stars. Let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars."

"Huh?"

"In other words, please be true," Jesse said.

"Jesse?"

"In other words, I love you."

"Oh, Jesse! I think you're going to be OK," said his mom. "Let's call this last Santa, Breakfast With Santa. It's being held at the Lions Club from 7 to 9 a.m. tomorrow. All proceeds are going to the Food Bank Association."

"Let's sing!" Jesse said.

"Good! King! Wen! Ces! Laus! Looked! Out! ..."

Oh my God! What is that? It's horrible. It's a witch playing a guitar. No, she's got a jagged partridge bone in one hand and she's scraping it against a barbed-wire fence. For the love of God, stop!

Still in bed. The clock is ticking. Oh, that's just a little Christmas tune strummed on a harp. "Wooden Santas" is over. Got to get up. Mmm, that's a soothing little tune, though. Just a few more minutes...

Up next on "The Morning Show," more turkeys for the food bank. We'll talk to Eg Wentzell.

Peter Jackson is The Telegram's commentary editor. He can be contacted by e-mail at pjackson@thetelegram.com.

Organizations: CBC Radio, House of Wooden Santas, Revenue Canada Lions Club Food Bank Association

Geographic location: St. John's, Avalon, U.S. Cuba Mars

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