Olive the other Reindeer by Bill Storie
I remember as wee boy in Scotland around this time of year there was an event that only took place in the run up to Christmas. Every day the local post office would hire a coach to deliver parcels. It was always too much for the “postie” man to handle so they loaded lots of presents on the bus and it drove around all the houses, street by street.
I would be able to see it coming into our street way down the end of the street and watch it wind its way up towards my house. It was of course even more exciting if it was snowing. Slowly it would move up the street, with helpers on board jumping off and on to take the parcels to each respective door.
It was the closest we got to Santa and his Reindeers bringing presents. Each day I would be humming in anticipation. Sometimes Jingle Bells, sometimes Frostie the Snowman, sometimes Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer – he had other reindeer to help him of course but I really didn’t know their names. I always wondered what the “other reindeer” were called !!
I didn’t come from a large family and I had no distant aunts or uncles or cousins. So, the expectation that someone far away would send me a present was a long shot. Nonetheless I would sit in our front bay window with a big smile. Then the bus would pass the house yet again and the smile would disappear.
This happened year over year.
Around October one year I had written an article for a large kids magazine down in London. I had been to a huge international rugby match in Edinburgh watching Scotland play England. It was a tremendous event with thousands of people shouting and singing and getting into the game. The old rivalry between Scotland and England never far away. I was mesmerized. I’d be about 8 or 9 I think. (This was the start of my writing career perhaps, all the way up to now many decades later as I write this for Olderhood).
Lo and behold it was printed. A published author at eight years old. Cook huh?
Problem was however that the week it was published I didn’t get the magazine for some reason. Probably I’d spent my pocket money and couldn’t go back to ask for more!! But it was published and I didn’t know anything about it.
Then a few weeks later, getting into December I started the bus watching as usual. Day after day, this wee eight-year-old sat in hope that someone would send him a parcel from away.
Can you imagine the excitement when one day the bus stopped at my house and a man jumped out with a big parcel and came up my path to our front door? The eyes were wide open, the throat was tense, the disbelief was staggering. “Mum, mum, the bus is here”
“The parcel bus.”
“It’s not for us, behave yourself.”
It is, it is.”
Ding dong. The parcel was handed over with MY NAME on it.
It seemed an odd shape but I was too excited to care so I ripped it open. It was my gift from the magazine in London for my article being published. Who knew?
To my utter surprise and with a slight degree of confusion it turned out to be a cricket bat. A cricket bat !!!! ….. Yup, a cricket bat. In fact, it was the absolute top of the line bat used by professional cricket players. When I eventually showed it around everyone thought it was brilliant. Unfortunately, I didn’t play much cricket in those days so the idea of a super bat was lost on me.
Why hadn’t they sent me a football, or even a rugby ball, or better still tickets for the next big rugby match?
Oh well. The mere fact that the parcel bus had delivered to me was, by far and away the best prize of all. I boasted about it at school for ages.
Those were the days indeed.
Simple things cheered us up. Recognition was paramount. And when I think back to that day I still recall wondering what the name of the other reindeer was. Ah well, maybe someone will tell me one of these days.
May I wish you, your family and friends and everyone in the Olderhood Family a very happy Christmas. I’m delighted to report that our little Merry Christmas video we posted over Facebook and Twitter, has now been viewed by almost 100,000 people around the world. And it all started a long time ago when a wee boy waited on the parcel bus.
Take care everyone
By Bill Storie