RAY SMIT: The battle to watch HNIC

My father was hoisted on his own black and white petard

As Christmas 1954 approached, my father was a man on a mission. He was determined to buy a TV set. My mother had different priorities.

“I saw one in the window at Buckle’s Appliances. It was almost $150!”

Dad replied eagerly, “Yes, but they have smaller ones on sale for Christmas and they’re only $99.95. That’s a bargain!”

“That’s two week’s salary,” mom replied.

“But over one million TV sets have been sold in Canada,” Dad replied adamantly.

“You can watch hockey next door with Mr. Miller.”

“Yeah, but if I was home I could watch the game in my underwear.”

“Well, you keep your shirt on and we’ll get a TV when we can afford one.”

So every Saturday night that winter, dad stumbled through the snowdrifts to Ray Miller’s house to watch Hockey Night In Canada. Mr. Miller liked to pontificate about the Leafs and their problems. Dad, afraid to offend, could do little but bite his tongue and bide his time.

The next spring, as playoffs neared, my mom began feeling poorly — especially in the mornings. The doctor did some tests and reported that mom was pregnant with me. She was quickly ordered to bed. The following Saturday afternoon, Dad walked into the bedroom and said, “I bought you a present.”

“What is it?” Mom asked suspiciously.

“It’s a brand new TV. I got it on payments.”

“Has this got something to do with hockey?”

“While you’re pregnant you can lie on the couch and watch your favourite shows!”

“We can’t afford it. Take it back.”

“The children can watch Howdy Doody.”

“Take it back.”

“I can’t. I already signed the contract.”

“Well, yes, Howdy Doody,” Mom replied defeated.

Later as my dad hooked up the antenna, mom patted her tummy and asked, “Are you excited by our new arrival?”

“Indeed I am,” Dad said, patting the top of the TV set. “Indeed I am!”

When dad told Mr. Miller about the new TV,  he was delighted. “I’ll be over at 8:30,” he said. It was a big night. For the first time when Ray pontificated, Dad pontificated right back! Luckily, it didn’t hurt their friendship one bit. In fact, I was named for dad’s TV buddy — a true son of Hockey Night in Canada.

Mom eventually accepted the television. Within a few years she was enjoying Front Page Challenge, The Wayne and Shuster Show and especially Charlie Chamberlain and Marg Osburne on Don Messer’s Jubilee. Dad was pleased but then caught flatfooted when mom fell in love with The Lawrence Welk Show. Unfortunately, it was on opposite Hockey Night In Canada. Before he knew it, mom had commandeered the TV and he was back to visiting Mr. Miller again.

Years later dad got another loan and bought a brand new colour console. He told Mom it was so she could watch Lawrence Welk in style. But when it arrived, he seemed more interested in dragging her old set down to the basement. Regrettably, the rec room was too cold to watch Hockey Night In Canada in his underwear. So there he sat in his wooly sweater — winter after winter — hoist on his own black and white petard.


Ray Smit’s column appears every second Thursday in The NEWS. E-mail: raymondsmit@shaw.ca



Just Posted

Celebration of life announced for Parksville man who died following reported hit and run

Investigation still underway following death of Spencer Alexander Moore

Mushroom festival returns to Coombs

Displays, talks, mushroom identification and more

ELECTION 2019: NDP’s Gord Johns re-elected in Courtenay-Alberni

Conservative Byron Horner finishes second, with Green Party’s Sean Wood third

Trudeau has won the most seats — but not a majority. What happens next?

Trudeau will have to deal with some of the implications of Monday’s result

Raptors Bling: NBA champions receive their rings in pre-game ceremony

There are over 650 diamonds — at a weight of 14 carats — in the 14-karat yellow gold ring

Faster response may have prevented fatal outcome at B.C. trampoline park

Coroner’s report rules Greater Victoria father Jay Greenwood’s death accidental

Girl approached by stranger at Nanaimo elementary school playground

Brechin Elementary School principal sends letter to parents after Oct. 22 incident

100-pound pumpkin stolen a second time from B.C. business

According to security footage, a man and woman took the pumpkin on Oct. 20 at 8:20 p.m.

Greta Thunberg declines invitation to Victoria due to time, not ferry emissions

Thunberg confirmed that she will be joining a climate strike at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Friday

‘Havoc and chaos:’ Alberta separatist group gains support as Liberals re-elected

The idea is getting interest from people in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and parts of British Columbia

Feds finally decriminalizing drugs possible – but it’s up to Jagmeet Singh, expert says

National pharmacare was one of Singh’s most highly-touted platform policies

In the news: Wexit, Brexit and Trump sparks outrage

There’s been a surge of support for an Alberta separatist group

Most Read