Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Christmas Surprise that Backfired on Me!

Hey all!

Being that it's Christmas (for me it is, otherwise, insert holiday of your choice here) I thought it was a good time to share my Dad/Guy LaFleur story J. I originally sent this out as part of an email to family & friends shortly after dad died. Hard to believe it was already over 3 yrs ago!

Shortly after finding out dad was sick, I started to plan a Christmas surprise. I wanted to do something really "special" for him. I'm the type of person who tries to put some thought into what someone might actually LIKE to receive, so not knowing what the next year might bring, I wanted to give him something extra special, something unique that Christmas.

So, I got it in my head to give him a phone call from Guy LaFleur. Those of you who knew my dad, you know exactly what that would have meant to him. For those of you who didn't know him, I could say, "just imagine you're all time favourite sports hero', and you would have what that icon on ice meant to my father. But let me also give you a bit of background ... all my life dad was a Habs fan, and Guy LaFleur was definitely "the man". I was told many times that the night I took my first steps, he was here in Halifax watching Guy play at the Metro Centre. Later that night, he managed to get his autograph at the hotel. I'm still not quite sure of which event he was most proud my first steps, or that autograph lol. I can remember he used to have these habs team pictures, torn off from hockey calendars over the years, hanging in the basement...

Anyway, when my wonderful father in law heard of my 'operation xmas call' mission, he provided me with the name of the PR Rep for the Canadians, so I gave her a call and explained that I wanted to give my dad a phone call from Guy LaFleur for Christmas. She said she couldn't make any promises, but that she'd pass the message along to him.

I told my mother about this surprise, and asked her not to mention anything to dad. BIG mistake!

The day we arrived home for Christmas vacation, dad had a surprise for me. That afternoon, mom had run out to the store for maybe 20 min, and while she was gone, the phone rang. Dad didn't recognize the number, and because he was quite sick at the time, didn't really want to be getting on the phone anyway, but he it picked up to find someone who was "supposedly" Guy LaFleur on the other end. Knowing that Montreal hadn't played very well their last few games, dad thought it was just someone in the family or one of his friends who was playing a joke on him. So, dad chatted politely for a couple of minutes, then said abruptly, "Well, I've gotta go".

He only found out later, much to his surprise and absolute DISMAY, it really was Guy LaFleur on the phone! When mom got home he told her about the phone call and she said "Uh...Jim... that really WAS Guy LaFleur. Kimberly arranged that phone call as a surprise present for you". Poor Dad! It's not often I've seen him REALLY disappointed, but that was definitely one of those times. I tried to get in touch with the PR lady again, to explain what happened, but being Christmas and all, I didn't have any luck.

Even though the surprise sort of backfired on me, I know he was still proud to have received that phone call ... despite the fact that he didn't realize at the time that he really was talking to his longtime idol. It was always his first reply when asked that year "so what did you get for xmas? lol But more importantly, I know that he was proud of me, for making the extra effort to try give him something memorable, and for making what turned out to be his last Christmas, a pretty cool one.

Happy Holidays Everyone! And careful how you answer the phone this season, it could be someone you least expect on the other end of the line ;-) (in a good way ... not in an overdue bill collector way!) ;-)


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