As the Christmas Season falls upon us, and we sip egg nog and write Christmas cards, it brings to mind a festive holiday story involving Glenn Gould. This story was told to me by a long-time Gould acquaintance, Mary Morrison. Mary, a famous Canadian opera singer and vocal coach, was also married to the famed Canadian composer, Harry Freedman.
She recalled to me that on a snowy, cold, Christmas Eve she was shopping in the gift shop of The Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, where she happened to run into Glenn. Glenn was picking out Christmas cards to purchase at the shop. Mary chuckled to herself that Glenn had waited until the last possible minute to buy his seasonal cards. When she arrived at the cashier, Glenn was waiting in line to pay. When it came his turn, she noticed that he began to search in vain for his wallet. He concluded that his wallet was not present! Mary saw the situation and offered to pay for his cards, but Glenn refused her kind offer. Glenn then asked the cashier if she could provide him with a counter-cheque in order to pay for his purchase. She responded that she could not do this because he had no identification. Mary interjected and told the cashier that this was indeed Glenn Gould and that she could vouch for him. The cashier immediately recognized his name, gave Glenn the cheque, and the situation was successfully resolved. Mary watched as Glenn trotted off very happily all bundled up out into the wintery evening.
As a post-script to this festive story, it should be noted that often recipients of Glenn’s Christmas cards did not receive them until February!
Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
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