Christmas presents that I didn’t get. That I really wanted. That I still carry angst for.
Though we didn’t get around to it on the actual show, Sunday Sequence asked me to think about this question.
It took me back. I dug deep.
I was 9 or 10. It might have been 1971. Everything changed in 1972 but I will come to that! In ’71 I was an Action Man boy. More of that later too. My next door neighbour Donald Reid had a variant on the Action Man idea - The Lone Ranger and Tonto.
Children in the late 60s and early 70s were all about cowboys and Indians. TV shows like The Virginian, The High Chaparral and my very favourite Alias Smith and Jones. Before those there was the Lone Ranger and Tonto. Donald had the action figures… and there were horses. Horses with saddle bags and the whole deal.
I coveted my neighbour’s horse. The Lone Ranger and Tonto had amazing horses. Big commandment broken! I remember, and I had absolutely no belief in God at the time, praying that my Uncle would appear with Tonto and the horse! Nothing! Never arrived.
While we were actually on air on Sunday Sequence, Tony Mcauley raised more childhood Christmas trauma. He mentioned one of his favourite gifts being Thunderbirds 2. Like a arrow across time his words pierced my heart. I immediately remember that Thunderbirds 2 opened and Thunderbirds 4 came out of the main craft. Oh how much I wanted that too!
My dad was a careful man. I wanted the game Mousetrap because of the all the fiddly bits. Dad would use his accountant’s rational to think that I would lose those bits within hours and discard the game. So he would negotiate with Santa to get me golf clubs instead. I used those golf clubs for years. The Peter Allis putter is still in the garage! If only I had seen my father’s wisdom then!
The good presents? Well, a pedal go-kart was amazing. It had with it a Stirling Moss Formula 1 driver’s suit with it. Amazing that we lost both Allis and Moss this year.
One of my favourite Christmas Days was the day I got an Action Man and diver suit with dinghy. Lots of fiddly bits like knives and goggles... I loved that but there was drama. In putting my guy in the bath to do some diving I then foolishly dried him out by the electric fire! Not so clever. That poor action man had a rather disfigured back for ever after.
The best present of all Christmases was when I was 11. In 1972 I got my record player. This was the first record player in our home. I envy those who talk about the records they grew up listening to. I had to make up my own influences and my cousin Sharon started me off on Donny Osmond and David Cassidy. I discovered T. Rex, Sweet, Slade and Wizzard before my eureka moment - The Beatles in 1976.
The record player or equivalents have been my soundtrack companions ever since. Records led me into thinking about the big questions of life and those questions led me to faith in Jesus. Even after Jesus started giving me answers I have used records for my spiritual companions ever since.
All of that has come back around this year as I am getting a number of vinyl records as presents! I hope so anyway...