Top Shelf Stories: Don’t worry Mom, elves build the toys

Connor Jones shares memories of youth and family, life and sports, while growing up in Montrose

Connor Jones - Top Shelf Stories

Remember when those mini electric Jeeps came out? The ones you could sit in and actually steer and drive yourself?

The first time I saw them on the cover of the Sears catalogue, I had to have one, and so did Kel. It was at the top of our Christmas lists we were mailing to Santa. The jeeps were numbers one, two, and three that year.

When my mom takes a look at our lists before putting them in the envelope, she says something along the lines of, “Well boys, I don’t think Santa can afford those Jeep …”

Kellen quickly and confidently responds, as only a six year old could, “Mom, the elves build the toys, they don’t buy them.”

Needless to say, we didn’t get the electric Jeeps.

About 10 years later, it was our first time living away from home and we had to travel back to Montrose from Vernon on the morning of the 23rd for Christmas break.

It was one of the nastiest storms of the year and to top it off, Kel was feeling a little under the weather. He felt so sick that he made me drive. For those who know us, I never drive when we are together. Kel only allows me to drive on game days.

So eight hours later, with my hands stuck in fists from holding onto the steering wheel so tight, we made it. I drove 50 km/h the entire way and Kellen even said thanks to me as we got to the top of the cutoff hill and into Montrose.

When we pulled down our street about half way to our house, Kel and I both see familiar lights shining from the back yard. We look at each other in disbelief. Kel shows his first signs of life and shouts, “The rink!”

Every winter season since we’ve lived in Montrose, we’d always construct the rink together. We would put up the lights, nail together huge plywood boards, and put up tennis nets to keep pucks and balls from hitting the neighbors houses.

It was quite a process and no easy task to get the rink in tip-top shape. Kel and I just assumed that since we were only home for such a short time my dad wouldn’t do it this year.

I could barely put the truck in park I was so excited. We rush out to mom and dad in the back yard. Mom is sitting on the deck with a blanket and my dad was dressed in his shin pads and makeshift goalie gear, complete with his old Calgary Dinos jersey and ball glove too.

“Hey fellas! Get your skates on! Dominator is back! Game to ten?”

“Yeah! This is incredible, what a surprise!” I yell out.

I don’t think any two kids tied their skates faster than that night.

“You need any warmup shots?” Kel asks as we skate out.

My dad laughs and replies, “You know the rules, one shot each to see who starts, only have so many saves in me.”

I score, Kel doesn’t. A rarity when we play one versus one.

I skate down first possession, shoot the ball between Kel’s legs and it goes into the net, past my dad’s glove. He didn’t even flinch. “That go in?” My dad asks wide eyed.

Kel and I nod and laugh.

Next play, Kel easily scores. He fakes a shot and slides it in past my dad who was faked out so bad that he ended up in the corner behind the net.

After about five minutes: we’re tied at ten.

“Yo dad, what did you say we were playing to? A thousand?” Kel sarcastically says.

“Ha,” he replies, “you guys shoot the ball a little better than when you were younger. We might have to play to fifty ya bunch of dinks.”

We played well into that night and the next six days and nights we were home as well. It was an incredible gift from dad and mom that Christmas.

So I guess the lesson is that material things don’t matter. Be generous with your time. Love each other. Be thoughtful and kind.

Although, I’d like a new Ford F-150. Can somebody let Santa know so he can tell his elves to build it for me?

@Vernon Vipersjunior hockeyTrail Smoke Eaters

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