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  December 23, 2000



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Stu vs. Santa


By BRET HART -- Calgary Sun

 A few of years ago, my youngest son Blade, then seven, came to me with the horrific news that some kids at school had the nerve to make up a crazy story that Santa Claus is fake.

 "Fake!," I exclaimed, wondering how I was gonna get out of this one. "That's ridiculous."

 "How do you know?" he queried.

 "Because ... you've seen him on TV," I offered, thinking I could get away with it.

 "But Batman is on TV, too," Blade aptly observed, "and he's not real."

 "But you met Santa at the mall, remember?"

 He pondered that and said, "Yeah but Bugs Bunny was there, too ... and he isn't real."

  "Err ... you write Santa letters every year and he brings you presents ..."

 Blade got a satisfied look on his face. Before he could go any further with it, I offered, "ya know, boy, did I ever tell ya about the time Santa wrestled Grampie Stu?"

 His eyes got wide and he cozied up to me with his hot chocolate to hear the story.

 "Santa was zooming back from Australia, where he'd just delivered lots of toys to all the girls and boys and his sleigh came swooping down out of the sky right in front of Grampie's house. It was his very first stop in all of Canada. But there was nowhere for Santa's sleigh to land because Grampie had so many old, broken down cars all over his yard."

 "But doesn't Santa land on the roof?" Blade corrected.

 "Er ... yeah ... but it was too icy up there ... and he didn't want Rudolph and all his reindeer friends to slip off and get hurt ..."

 "Oh, OK ..."

 I could tell this wasn't going to be easy.

 "Anyway, they landed in Grampie's wrestling ring ... and that's when Santa realized he was at the legendary Hart house. Every time he'd been there before, he wanted to stop and stay a while, but, of course, he couldn't, because he still had so many presents to deliver. Because, boy, ever since he was little, Santa always wanted to be a wrestler."

 Blade was incredulous, "He did? A wrestler, like you, dad?"

 "Well yeah, I guess ... only he has a beard, so I guess he'd be a bad guy?"

 "What!"

 "Oh, nothing, boy. I said Santa wanted to beat up all the bad guys."

 "Oh, OK."

 "There aren't that many TV channels at the North Pole and TV signals bounce around funny in the air up there, so Santa watches the old Stampede Wrestling all the time. This time he couldn't resist any more and he decided to invite himself in and look around -- but just for a minute.

 "Santa knocked on the back door, but no one answered -- except the dogs. Bear started barking and the cats all came to see who it was. Santa's cover was blown, he couldn't sneak into Hart house.

 "So he went around to the front door but no one answered there either. He found the basement door open, though, and let himself in.

 "Santa spied a pair of Stu's old wrestling tights and couldn't resist trying them on. He took off his bright red and white gear and his chimney cap with a pom pom on the end and before you know it, he was dressed like Grampie, making believe he was a wrestler, cutting a promo in the dungeon.

 "What happened next, Dad?"

 "Grampie came down. He didn't know it was Santa because it was kind of dark. Santa said he always wanted to learn to wrestle, so Grampie just took him down to the mat right then and there -- pulling Santa's beard and everything. Stu was stretching Santa and Santa was yelling for his life down there."

 Blade was concerned, "Did Grampie hurt Santa, Dad?"

 "Well, no, because Gramie Helen came in to see who was kicking up such a ruckus in the basement."

 " 'Oh my,' Gramie exclaimed, `Buffy, it's Santa! Please don't hurt him. He didn't deliver the presents to all the boys and girls in Canada yet!'

 "Stu suddenly released a hold and jumped to his feet, 'Santa Claus! Why you ole' bast ... err ... coot ... you're a big fella and a great athlete. That's quite a marathon you do every Christmas Eve. So you want to be a wrestler, eh?'

 "And so, Grampie and San brushed themselves off, and went up to the kitchen while Gramie Helen made tea. They started to talk about wrestling ... and talk ... and talk ... ya know, like only Grampie can talk.

 "Yeah, he likes to tell stories.

 "Yeah and soon the sun came up and they were still talking and so that was the year that no one got their Christmas presents until New Years!"

 "Dad, come on, that can't be true!" Blade insisted.

 Oh, oh, I thought. The gig is up.

 "Nah," he said. "The way Grampie tells stories, they would have talked till Easter."

 Thank you very much for all the Christmas cards from all over the world. Your continued support and loyalty through thick and thin continues to be an inspiration. I have the best fans in the whole world and I wish every single one of you a peaceful and joyous holiday season and a great New Year.

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