It won’t go down as the eighth wonder of the world, but in my book, Uncle Mort’s packing his own cell phone ranks way up there.

He’s repeatedly vowed never to own one. “I couldn’t remember the number, and I wouldn’t know how to answer it,” has been his contention.

I figured the only way he’d ever give in would be if it’s provided free, and that’s what happened…

Worried about their 90-year-old dad’s putt-putting all over the thicket on his golf cart, his children decided they’d underwrite the cost. It was a “peace of mind” decision for them and Aunt Maude. Now if Mort decides to go frog-giggin’ at midnight, so be it. If he encounters a giant frog that doesn’t want to be gigged, he can call for help.

Aunt Maude’s tickled at the prospect of sharing Mort’s incessant babbling with others. I winced when he called to brag about his “gift” the other night, but if the phone means Maude gets some time off, I’ll try to bear up. After all, her chores aren’t always within hearing distance of his “good ear side.”

Bottom line, maybe listening to his palaver is partial payment for being kinfolks…

It was after 9 p.m. when he called. I knew that my only hope for a short conversation was a low phone battery and a misplaced charger.

That was faint hope, and no such luck.

He was wound tighter than a three-dollar clock, ready to paint a word picture of his previous night’s dream. “Mort’s always been a dreamer,” Maude’s joked. “But for 15 years, they’ve mostly been re-runs.”

The dream had a North Pole setting. Santa Claus was trying to explain severely bruised knees to Mrs. Claus. He claimed they were the result of a scuffle that ensued after he’d rear-ended a car at an intersection.

Gesturing wildly, Santa said he thought it was one of his elves jumping out of the bashed-in car. But no — it was one of Snow White’s dwarfs. Standing on tippy toes, the offended driver screamed at Santa: “I’m not happy!”

“OK,” St. Nick answered. “Which one are you?” And that’s when the fight started…

Mort said Santa was driving his ATV out to the lead mines, where the elves work until toy-painting time.

“I always tell them to wash their hands real well,” Santa said. “All we need in toyland is to be linked to Chinese toy makers. In fact, I’m thinking of loading up with apples, oranges and nuts, with a lot more chunks of coal than usual this year,” he laughed.

“Santa changes the subject as fast as I do,” Mort admitted. He then spoke of Santa’s initial instructions on the elves’ first day in the mines. They swore that they were clueless about mining lead. “Just get in there and get the lead out,” Santa decreed…

Then he switched to football mascots, lamenting that Reveille, Texas A&M’s mascot, bit the hand that feeds her. She was sentenced to sit out the next game.

“Reveille didn’t know she was setting a standard, because a week later, the entire team sat out a game down in Miami,” Mort said.

My uncle’s dream included an argument between Reveille and Bevo, UT’s steer

mascot. Bevo wanted to know if the Aggies still feel that their coach is “Fran”-tastic. Reveille said the word in College Station is that Longhorn games are now broadcast on Austin Police Radio, and their new cheer is “Book ‘em Horns.”

Back in real time, Uncle Mort snorted about too many “off the field” headlines.

“Belfries of many sports figures are depriving caves of their bats,” Mort contended.

He rattled off the names of NFL quarterback Michael Vick, besmirched NBA referee Tim Donaghy and red-faced New England coach Bill Belichick. “If they were laid end to end, it would be a good thing,” he claimed, adding O. J. Simpson to the list…

As the signal weakened, I crowded in a single question: “How did you get to know so much about everything?”

Mort responded that credit should go to his parents, who home schooled all their children.

“‘Course, by October of each year, most of us were out-sourced,” he concluded.

Don Newbury is a speaker and author whose weekly column appears in 125 newspapers in six states. He welcomes comments and inquiries. Call him at (817) 447-3872, or send e-mail to newbury@speakerdoc.com His Web site is www.speakerdoc.com.