Dad’s private Santa Claus workshop
My Dad worked for the Oliver Hardware Store (owned by Vic Fairweather) for many years. It was an exceptionally large store located right on Main Street in Oliver. The main floor of the store was where the office was as well as the selling floor. To get to where Dad worked a lot of the time, you had to walk to the back of the store, climb a set of narrow stairs in the dark and come out on top of the store where the warehouse was. There was also a very scary elevator that I NEVER rode in!
The upstairs part of the store was as long and wide as the main store with several aisles of shelving all full of merchandise. At Christmas time, the shelves would be full of Christmas items. My Dad did all the pricing in the store and at Christmas he spent a lot of time upstairs in this dark and scary place. However, at Christmas, it was never too scary to go and have a look at what was up there.
Sandy and I used to go down to the store and run up the stairs to go visit Dad but really we went to see what neat things were hiding there. This story occurred before Norma was born but she too spent many a happy hour up in Dad’s warehouse!!
One particular Christmas I remember walking along the aisles and seeing all kinds of dolls and trucks and games and puzzles all lined up. Way up on the top shelf something bright and shiny caught my eye and I walked back and forth several times to see what it was.
Finally I realized that it was a gold trumpet, just like a real trumpet!! It had three pump buttons on it and a curved slot where you put your little finger in to hold the trumpet. Next to it was a beautiful black clarinet that Sandy had her eye on! I remember telling Dad that it would be really great if Santa knew that we wanted these two toys for Christmas. I also wondered to myself how Santa was going to get them out of the store without paying for them!
Anyway…that Christmas morning when we rushed from our bedroom across the cold kitchen floor and into the living room, there in all its’ shining glory was my beloved trumpet and for Sandy, her clarinet! It didn’t take us long to figure out a simple tune…thank goodness I can play by ear. We made a lot of music that day and for many days and years to come. Sandy went on to play clarinet in the school band and I, of course, got the family instrument…violin! We both learned how to read music too!
Of all the Christmas presents in all my Christmases that trumpet still stands as my favourite toy.