I think I’m going to like this, but it’s scary. How do I tell you what’s behind those stories that we have been putting on the air for more than 30 years?
Like Monday. The story of the little boy’s first tree. CameramanJohn McCarrronand I are in his van driving up and down back alleys and finding nothing. Litterally, nothing. We went down by the Fraser River where I have done a few stories about Bert, the 95 year old guy who runs Northern Building Supply. He started the lumber yard 70 years ago when he needed a job.
But poor Bert’s wife had died just a few days ago. They had been married more than 60 years. We did not want to bother him.
Then we dropped in on Walter the mechanic, up the street. He was greasy and tough and strong as he always is, but his oil-smeared coveralls said “John” on them. John the cameraman noticed the mechanic was now John.
Walter, who was now John said he got too big to wear his Walter coveralls, so he borrowed John’s. That would have made a story, except Walter said, are you kidding. My wife would put me on a diet, and I don’t want that no how, no way, no where.
Story continues below
So John the cameraman and I went to New Westminister where the Diana thewoman who sweeps the streets wears a different hat for each season. Wefound her in the works yard, with a winter hat. But she had a doctor’s appointment.
It was then past 3 p.m. and this story has to be on the air in a three hours, and we do not have a story. And John has a new company van andan appointment to have cabinets for hisequipment put in in 45 minutes.
This will be a challenge.
We drive by a deflated Santa. Thank you story god. One is funny. But one does not make a story. Try finding more deflated Santas when you are on deadline. It would be easier to find the meaning of life.
We find three more, just before the sun falls asleep. He goes to the cabinet maker, I take a cab back to my car and then get to work and the magical words….. from a producer, … you have ten minutes to make your spot. And there is no spot after it.
And then it went on the air…the story of the flat Santas. Easy.
Is that all you do for a living?
And Tuesday, I am with cameraman Karl Casselman who is very, very strong and energetic and eats a great deal to keep going. Hours go by and all we have managed is for Karl to get a bagel cream cheese at Seigels’s Bagels on Cornwall. We go on looking. We find nothing.An hour laterKarl said he was hungry, again,and so we went to his favourite pizza place on Commercial Drive. He gets two large slices and offers me a bite of his pepperoni whilehe chews on the other one, thengoes tothe pepperoni slice.
I see the couple with the tinytree crossing the street.He stops in the middle of the street, I jump out and talk to them…. excuseme, hate to bother you, … but is this his first tree by any chance?
Thank you story god.
The little one isNicholas, a year old.
Karl parks somewhere. I don’t care where.He runsup with his camera.
You have pizza onyour chin, I say.
He wipes itoff and we talk and he takes pictures of the tree and the family and I am in heaven.
As we leave, Karl tells me something obvious, which I missed. Nicholas is another name for Santa Claus.
The closing line in the story.
Nicholas is another name for Santa Claus.
I wish I could come up with something that good.
And that’s the way it works. If you like this, let me know and I’ll tell you about other stories.