The time was 1945 and World War II was just coming to an end. It was Christmas time on Canada's eastern coast. Times, of course, were very hard at that time. For me, having a big family meant my folks did not have very much money.
It was very cold in December, which led to many outdoor skating rinks, ponds, rivers, streams, and lakes being turned into hockey rinks. All the boys would get together and we would pick two hockey teams.
Each team would have a big argument about the name of their team. At that time, it was hard to choose, with only six teams in the National Hockey League.
It seemed that everyone but myself was wearing an NHL sweater. With my parents under financial hardship they could not afford much, certainly not a hockey sweater and matching socks.
But in any case, Christmas came along and my dear mother would save every penny she could during the year just to buy all the children in our family a gift. I had absolutely no idea what my gift would be, but I knew it was under the tree in a huge box.
On Christmas morning, gift opening time came. Suddenly, everyone dove right in and began throwing paper in all directions.
I opened my gift after a struggle and there it was, something I always prayed for: a Palm-Beach Guitar. My dear mother had saved for a whole year to buy me a $12 guitar.
The next morning, it was Boxing Day. We all hit the rinks, with everyone showing off the new skates, sweaters, and sticks that they got for Christmas.
My cousin, who would never be a hockey player and had no interest in hockey, always did his best and showed up at the rink on most days. This Boxing Day, he came to the rink with a new hockey sweater and socks. What were they? You guessed it! "The Blue And White."
Luckily, I knew that my cousin was very interested in music, so I was on a mission. But first I had to talk to my dear mother about a possible trade: my guitar for cousin Les' Toronto Maple Leafs sweater and socks. A very brazen thought, indeed!
Thankfully, my mother knew how much I loved hockey and what it would mean if I could have a uniform that was all my own. She finally gave into my wish.
The trade was made—my guitar for a Leafs uniform.
So because of one person, my darling mother, to this day I am a Leafs fan and always will be. To me it was the greatest trade ever made.
May God bless you, Mother.
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