Wilson, Teresa MacPhee - The fiddling Santa | Bowing Down Home
TW – Teresa MacPhee Wilson
KP – Curator Ken Perlman
TW: My father was Santa Claus one time, the first time I ever remember seeing Santa Claus. I had no idea who this chap was that come in. There was no radios then, you know, or anything. And I was too little to realize that there was such a thing as Santa Claus.
KP: Oh, you had never heard of Santa Claus?
TW: No, I didn't have a clue. They took me up to the concert up at the school, and this big man came in, in sort of a mask on for Santa Claus, and a white fur on his hat, and all this. But he had his own fur coat on.
TW: He had a fur coat, like bear fur or something, I don't know what it was. But anyway, he came in and he was bouncing around with this outfit on, and he got me to give him a hug. And I did, my pop. It didn't look very good for Santa Claus to me, when I saw the mask up close. Still, it never dawned on me that that's who it was. Then he picked up the fiddle, and his fiddle was there, and Neil MacCormick's fiddle was there. And he picked up the fiddle and he started to play. And you could see him every now and again lookin' at the other fiddle. He made a mistake. He had a mask on eh, so he couldn't see very good through the eyes, probably. And every now and then, he'd look towards his own fiddle, like, "I made a mistake and took the wrong fiddle." But he played anyway. Then they lit the candles. I never could understand why teachers or parents would ever allow the like, and lit the candles on the tree, on the Christmas tree, and then got up to dance. And he backed up and brushed against the tree with all those candles lit.
KP: Oh, no.
TW: And the fire went up the back of his coat, burnt the fur off the back of his coat.: just a strip (laughs). Anyway, he got away from the tree, and they got the lights out. And so [my brother] Gerard, a year and half older than me, the next day Gerard said to me, he said, "I think that was Dad," he said, "that was Santa Claus last night." Was I – “How did he ever get this into his head?” Said Gerard, "You come and see." And he took out the fur coat and showed me where the burn was on the coat. I put two and two together after that (laughs).