Editorial board Christmas tradition: Award-winning ornament

Zero dacus, mucho cracus

hallaballu-za bub

That's the secret password

that we use down at the club

If you recognize that stanza as anything other than gobbledygook, then chances are you're a babyboomer who grew up around Seattle.

For the uninitiated, those are the opening lines of Stan Boreson's theme song.

For the initiated, it's a sure bet the second stanza came immediately to mind.

Zero-dacus, mucho-cracus

hallaballu-za fan

Means now you are a member of:

KING's TV club with Stan.

In the early days of TV, every station had local children's programming, mostly after school, offering a mix of cartoons and skit comedy aimed at a grade-school audience.

Seattle natives remember Boreson, J.P. Patches, Captain Puget, Brakeman Bill and Wunda Wunda. Baby boomers from Spokane remember Captain Cy.

So, what does any of this have to do with our assignment for Christmas 2013 -- Our Favorite Ornament?

When I was about 5, Stan Boreson held an ornament contest. To enter, kids had to make their own ornament and mail it to KING TV. The entries would decorate Stan's tree, and the creators of the best ones would receive a prize.

I wanted in. The thought of seeing my ornament in glowing black-and-white glory on our living room screen brought me back to Stan Boreson's clubhouse every day leading up to Christmas.

I don't remember where I got the materials. My mother must have pulled a box of odds and ends out of some closet. There were probably an assortment of leftovers from arts-and-crafts projects. Glue, glitter, ribbon, modeling clay and colored markers.

But I quickly settled on a white Styrofoam ball that was the size and shape of an average Christmas tree bulb. I jabbed a couple of pipe cleaners into the Styrofoam. I don't think they served any purpose, but without them I'd be entering an unadorned styrofoam ball. Even at 5, that didn't seem like a winner.

We sent off my entry into Stan's contest. I never saw it on TV, but a week later a package came in the mail addressed to me, wrapped in brown shipping paper and looking particularly official.

Scanning the markings on the box -- "King's TV Klub with Stan" -- I quickly realized that it came from Stan. My prize! I won.

I tore into the box. Inside was the most beautiful flashlight I'd ever seen. Nothing fancy, but sturdy and brown. A utilitarian tool suitable for a boy.

It lasted until our family camping trip that summer, where the pleasure of reading comics inside my sleeping bag was enhanced by the pride of using the prize I'd won.

I remember the sense of loss I felt the first time I realized it had gone missing. But the joy of winning has lasted a lot longer.

-- Chris Sivula, editorial page editor