I was a Probationer Assistant Minister (a bit like a curate) learning my “trade” in a housing estate on the outskirts of Edinburgh (1973-74)
Some of the kids in the primary school in the Parish could be a bit boisterous. Near the beginning of my placement, I made the mistake of betraying the fact that I was (and still am) a Hearts supporter; the address to the School Assembly involved my unbuttoning my clerical shirt – to reveal a Heart of Midlothian t-shirt (I haven’t a clue what the point of this was – it was a long time ago); however, I do recall getting a “friendly word of advice” from the Minister in whose charge I was, following a complaint from the head- teacher. Apparently – at break time – there had been “exchanges” between wee Hearts supporters, and their bitter adversaries: those who supported the other Capital team, Hibernian (Hibs)
OK, my “card was marked” thereafter – I was a “Jambo”
My first Christmas – and I was invited by the Head-teacher, who had forgiven me for being a disruptive influence, to play Santa Claus at the kids’ end of term party. I was to sneak into the school and go to the staff room to get changed into the Santa costume.
This was done, and my “appearance” at the party seemed to go down well. After it, the children were let out into the playground, while I returned discretely to the Staff Room to change.
Five minutes or so, I left. A couple of the young kids spotted me. “Hey, Minister, wur you Santy Claus?”
Another one joined them. “Aye, ye wuz – see he’s wearin’ a pair o’ welly boots!”
Then a much younger laddie, “I dinnae ken if it’s yon man fae the church; am jist glad that Santy is a Jambo!”