Yule is really Sam’s time of the year. I’m not sure, left to our own devices, that we would have put up four trees, spent hours baking cookies, and lent Sam the front end computer for hours at a time if he didn’t get such a kick out of it.

Sam is the Depot Elf. Technically he is Scottish Christmas Elf and was sent to Helen over 50 years ago by a cousin in Kilmartin, Scotland. He climbed into the annual Yule box to swipe a piece of shortbread and ended up taped inside and sent to America. More precisely, he was sent to central Montana in 1956. He arrived in one piece, although the cookies did not. Helen lifted him out of the box, set him on her workbench, and for the next thirty-four years (until Helen’s death in 1990) he helped make miniatures and wooden toys.

When Jim and Helen bought the depot in 1983, for Sam it was love at first sight. He has lived in the front end for the past 30 years (they wouldn’t let him move in until they had the building restored) and enjoys watching the world (and the trains) go by. He has, as he oft says, been part of the interior landscape for a long time, although he moved from Helen’s workbench to Jim’s drafting table in 1990 and then to the miniature displays when the toy store opened in 2007. He discovered computers at about the same time, and started blogging about American culture and politics this past year (we admit to no responsibility either for his views or his words). While it may be a mistake, we promised to let him have his own blog on the toy store site if he promised to drop politics for a more productive range of subjects.

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