In Santa Claus Country
("The Mooremack News," March 1952)
(Courtesy of Vincent Fiorenza)
By this time, most followers of the affairs of
Mooremack know the story of Jim Saunders and his Christmas tree, the complications, pleasant and in many ways quite unbelievable, which followed when Arthur H. Iles, of the New York staff of the International Harvester Company,
played with fate by tossing a bottled message into the waters of the Atlantic.
Just in case some have missed it (and because the
editors of the "News" hate to let the story die), we reprint herewith the story as the "New York Herald-Tribune" told it:
A Christmas tree nine feet in height stands in the
home of Arthur H. Iles at 25 Thomas Road, the result of casting a whisky bottle upon the waters of the Atlantic.
Mr. Iles, a passenger on the westbound
Moore-McCormack passenger cargo
ship Mormacyork, did the casting on Sept. 12, when the vessel was off Nova Scotia, which bristles with spruce. Figuring he was reasonably close to the land of Christmas trees, he inserted
a jocular note in the bottle, giving his name and address and suggesting a Christmas present of a tree.
On Dec. 15, to his great astonishment, the Railway
Express Agency delivered a huge crate at his home, in which was the tree, carefully swaddled against breakage. There was, also, the following note:
Dear Mr. Iles:
I aint much a penning but it
is with pleasure I take me pen in hand to write you about your botel. I was out codding Wensday week and pulled in your botel fouled in me net. I was not fur of plesure beech on Newfundland shore so I have been some days
getting to home.
Ile git Joe Canouthers to see
if he find you a pretty tree for you and the young ones. You ought to have youre greens come next fortnight. You might have left a feller a taste in the botel agin the chill wind these days.
Yours, Jim Saunders.
The note obviously was written by the man who
picked up the bottle, but it bore no address and no postmark. The crate itself bore the name of Jim Campbell, of North Sydney, N. S., evidently the man who obtained and shipped the tree.
To complete the mystery, the Railway Express
Agency charged Mr. Iles only $1 for carrying the nine-foot tree all the way from North Sydney to Rockviile Centre, which was naturally a source of astonishment to him.
“Friend of mine had a package shipped out from New
York the other day.” said Mr. Iles, "and it cost him $1.55.”