Ron Carter

Holiday memories: The year the measles said ‘Merry Christmas’

“One of my most favourite Christmas memories starts with contracting the red measles,” says Oak Bay’s Ron Carter.

“One of my most favourite Christmas memories starts with contracting the red measles . . .” begins Oak Bay’s Ron Carter.

“In Grade 5 or 6 – 1964 or ‘65, – my St. Albert, Alberta middle school Christmas concert came to a close with me and a fellow trumpeter playing a duet, ‘Oh When the Saints.’ Man, was I hot. Not so much a boast of my talent but actually a measurement of my temperature which had soared to 104° F,” Carter reflects.

Diagnosed with red measles on the last day of school for the year, “the whole family was booked to fly to Saskatoon to join our relatives in Prince Albert for Christmas and here, I couldn’t go.

“To my surprise my dad quickly volunteered to stay behind with me (later as an adult I learned about strained in-law relationships) while my mom and sister carried on.

“I was at first very disappointed as I was very close to our cousins, aunts and uncles and I knew I would be missing a lot of fun. But, what can you do? This kissing cousin could infect the entire clan. There was no choice. Dad and I had to bach it,” Carter says.

“I have to confess, thinking back, my memory of the details of that entire down time is fuzzy. Probably because I was delirious for part of it. What is vivid is the warm fuzzy feeling I had just hanging out with my pop. His job took him on the road a lot and it seemed that our times spent together as I was growing up were few and far between.

“I can’t remember what I got that Christmas; maybe skis? Not important. Just having this great guy care for me and only me for a solid week or more became one of my fondest and most memorable Christmas gifts to this day.”