While growing up in Gander, I — along with thousands of other Newfoundland youngsters — would get an Evening Telegram pencil with a fine substantial rubber (as we called it back then) attached as “payment” for having our Letter to Santa printed in the paper, not much remuneration for our writing efforts, I’ll grant you, but then again, the exercise was also a guarantee that the Weight Watchers candidate with the white beard would agree to our every request.
Now, I have to admit I stopped bugging Santa some years ago, but the Letters to Santa section in The Telegram has continued without my invaluable submissions, and appears to be as popular as ever, I’m told, and not just with the 12-and-under crowd.
My trusted source, Harbour Deep Throat, has managed to obtain a cache of letters apparently written to Santa by a more mature group of Newfoundlanders this year, seeking not just gifts but a variety of favours from that powerful and altruistic fella up North.
And I have forwarded a few of them to Ms. Editor for her perusal, to be hopefully passed onto regular readers of this always merry and spiritual contribution of mine to The Telegram:
First of all, I have to remain anonymous, to a certain extent, which, needless to say, will make it quite difficult for you to comply with any Xmas requests I make. But I can supply you with some admittedly vague information: I’m the owner of the “numbered company” that bought up some land in the St. John’s area and then leased it to another firm that will produce marijuana there. (Santa, I guess you’ve heard by now that weed is legal in Canada, so you might find a joint near the fireplace instead of a glass of rum this year in plenty of homes in the country, especially here in Newfoundland where we always seem to take a lead in vices; but there will still be milk and cookies galore, just in case you get an attack of the munchies after you and Rudolph, or perhaps you and Mrs. Claus, give each other brain tokes). Anyway, Ebeneezer Crosbie has been making this pre-Christmastime a bit rough for me, and I’d like you to bring some duct tape that I could use to keep his big trap shut about my land. I don’t know what all the fuss is about, Santa. Why can’t people just take the word of so many ministers that they can’t find out who I am, or whether I attended the odd Liberal party convention in the past?
Thanks very much, Santa.
Numbered Company Owner
I know you granted my request a couple of years ago to become a cabinet minister, and had even suggested earlier that I join the NDP rebellion — a move that, of course, ultimately opened the door to that lucrative job around Premier Dwight Ball’s table. But, Santa, I’m beginning to have serious regrets. Day in and day out, I’m on the receiving end of embarrassing questions in the legislature from that nasty crowd across the way. They badgered the you-know-what out me because I decided to give that nice young woman, Ms. Foote, a job at The Rooms. And they implied it was her Liberal background that got her the position, Santa. There were some below-the-belt columnists who even brought up the fact that her mother, Judy, a big-time Liberal, was herself given what those cynics described as a patronage job, being the puppet for the Queen in Newfoundland. And then, Santa, they started to ask me about that “numbered company.” Well, Santa, I want you to do whatever you can to make it stop. I don’t like being a punching bag. Do you think, Santa, that you could provide me with a time machine so that I could travel back to several years ago when I was an innocuous member of the NDP caucus? If so, I would alter my ways, in Scrooge-like fashion, and not join in the attack on Lorraine. (I’ll never forget her Shakespearean-like words: “Et tu, Chrisé,” as I joined in the back-stabbing affair). I have suffered since, Santa. Oh, how I have suffered.
I ask only one thing of you, Santa, and that’s for the Muskrat Falls inquiry to continue right up to the next election. If you promise me that, Santa, I can then safely sit on my arse and say and do practically nothing and get elected (in much the same way I operated as opposition leader as the PC government imploded). For sure, there’s more pressure since we formed the government to operate in a substantive way on behalf of our rather easily influenced constituents, but the daily revelations about the Muskrat boondoggle allow me and my comrades to always fall back on the argument: “Look at the mess you left us!” Thanks Santa. (I believe you’re a Liberal at heart).
We’ve written you a joint letter, since misery seeks company, and the two of us appear to be joined at the hip, and will remain so as asterisks in Newfoundland history books forever and a day.
Santa, I know our apologies for doing what, in reality, many politicians have done in the past- — we just got caught— was not smothered in sincerity. Be that as it may, we are willing to do anything to improve our image. How about jobs as elves in your workshop? We promise not to bother anyone. And we could live solely on humble pie.
Dale and Eddie
Editor’s note: the pencils are in the mail.
Bob Wakeham has spent more than 40 years as a journalist in Newfoundland and Labrador. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org