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Saturday, 31 December 2016

December 31.....

...the last day of the old year.  2016 is over and it's been a 'wild ride' with natural disasters, terror attacks, iffy presidential elections and the economy of many countries up and down like the proverbial toilet seat.
On a personal level 2016 took its toll on our bodies...to be expected as we age I guess but still, annoying.  The littles remained healthy and that was the most important thing  Other than health, we were fortunate to skate along pretty smoothly in 2016.  No major changes, upheavals or disasters in our lives.
Next year, 2017, I will turn 70.   I can hardly believe it.  Time to sit down and think seriously about what I want to accomplish with the rest of whatever time is left to me on this plane of existence.  Not an easy task for someone who still doesn't know what they want to be when they grow up.
As we face the New Year have you made any commitments to yourself?    Heck, do YOU know what you want to be when you grow up?

Friday, 30 December 2016

Ending The Year On A Wintery Note

As I sit in my junk room/office/storage room/catch all this is what I am seeing.....


Brrrrr......and lookie down below....looks like an alien has drooped in to visit.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Do No Harm

Are you planning to set some New Year's resolutions for yourself?  You know...set yourself up for failure one more time?  I've just decided on what I'm going to do.  I'm going to wake up every morning I'm given, thank God, and get on with the business of getting through whatever the day presents as best I can.  My motto for the year I have borrowed from the medical profession, 'Do No Harm'.  If I can get through the year following this mandate I will be satisfied.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Life Is Chugging Along

"You Know What 2016' is history.  Old news.  We're all tired of it.  The New Year is beckoning.  I don't know about you but I had to buy a 2017 calendar in October and, as I turn the pages, I realise that January 2017 is almost full up.  I thought life would slow down once I retired.  That's a laugh.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

It's Quiet Here Today

As In A Dream

The snow is falling
outside my window
and, in the silent house
the clock ticks
my life away
second by second,
minute by minute.
Down in the basement
laundry is swishing
while in the kitchen
plans for dishing
the days meals are made.
Outside traffic snarls
in the cold white delight.
The   sun struggles
to penetrate its light
through the thickness.
It can’t quite manage
to reach inside.
Inside life ticks along
in the dim house
to the measure of the clock.
One little chore after another
gets done,
as the days always pass,
pleasantly, peacefully
as in a dream.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Boxing Day

As promised there will be no further mention of 'you know what'.  In fact, I have actually 'boxed up' most of the 'you know what' decorations and left out just a favoured few for New Years.  Yes, you will now likely hear about New Years for a few days.
Growing up, my grandparents always came to our house for..oh, 'you know what' and on New Years Day we went to Aurora to spend the day with my Moms parents, my grandma and grandad Peters in their house on Metcalfe Street.  We would pack ourselves into the cab of Dads pickup and off we would go.
Grandma would have a lovely hot meal for lunch, usually chicken, and a cold supper of meats and salads.  It was all delicious but I lived for dessert.  Gram always had 2 or 3 pies on offer, always my favourites of lemon meringue and pumpkin and one other as well as plates of home made Christmas cake, cookies and squares.
Gram would ask me what I would like and I, stuffed to the gills from the first course, would dither because I couldn't make up my mind.  The Grams sweet voice would utter the magic words she said every year, "Why don't you just have a little of everything?| and like magic a plate would descend before me with slivers of everything arranged nicely on it.  Heaven.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

All Things Bright and Beautiful

MERRY CHRISTMAS

I'VE SO ENJOYED SHARING MY CHRISTMAS MEMORIES WITH ALL OF YOU THIS MONTH AND HEARING ABOUT YOUR SPECIAL MEMORIES IN COMMENTS.  ONE THING SEEMS TO BE A CONSTANT IN ALL OUR LIVES....THE LOVE OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS.

MAY THIS SPECIAL DAY OF DAYS
BRING YOU PEACE AND JOY
LOVE AND SHARING
AND MEMORIES TO LAST A LIFETIME

Saturday, 24 December 2016

And The Same To You

Merry Christmas
said one,
Happy Hanukkah
the other.
Enjoy the best
of both seasons,
My friend and
my brother.
For it doesn't matter
what you may call it,
It's the good wishes in it
that put the blessings on it..
Spread the joy and the love, this Holiday Season.

Friday, 23 December 2016

The Magic

There is a silence that comes with Christmas.  As the tree goes up and is decorated, as tinsel and baubles and lights are strung and hung about, a kind of hush falls over the room.  There is a feeling of expectancy, that SOMETHING is coming, something that has nothing to do with Santa, gifts, reindeer or socks, something huge, magical, mystical, earth changing is about to happen for the 2016th time.  Even the children can feel it and they gather before the tree, their eyes round with wonder, childish voices stilled.  They too, are waiting for something.  Outside the snow begins to fall thick and soft and quiet.  It blankets the neighbourhood and muffles sound.  There is a hush, that feeling, SOMETHING is coming.  And there is, it's Christmas.  Not the Christmas of the stores and the hurry and the frenzy.  No, this is the real Christmas.  It's coming.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Sneaky Pete

A while back Becky Llewellen Povich (she's in my side bar if you want to go visit) posted about "Christmas Confessions".  I have one.  A confession that is.
From around ages 7 or 8 until I left home to get married, I knew what every package under the tree for me held and no one knew that I knew.  I was that good at unwrapping and resealing.  And no...it did NOT ruin my Christmas and yes, I DID act surprised.  I was that good at acting surprised.  Little sneaker wasn't I?

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

It's All Downhill From Here

Well folks.....tonight the turkey comes out of the freezer and goes into the fridge to roost at the bottom until the ice leaves its heart.  We've been to the grocery store and picked up the last food items we'll be needing.  If we don't have it, we'll be doing without it.  There is no turning back now.
Christmas Eve is in four nights...count em.....four.  That means, dare I say it, that for all you 'last minute Marion's and Morris's out there, there are four days left in which to clean, decorate, shop, wrap, bake, pack (if you are travelling) and generally prepare for Christmas.  It is too late now to ship or post.  Don't waste time panicking...'pitter patter, let's get at 'er'.

Why On Earth Did We Buy That Stuff?

Who among you remembers the hard striped Christmas candy.  My mom always had a bowl of it sitting out at Christmas.  They always stuck together in one weird shaped ball.  Sort of looked like an asteroid all decked out for the holidays.  Pretty much, they all tasted the same except for the one with the wide green stripes.  No one wanted to eat those.  The bowl sat there virtually untouched through out the holidays while the chocolates, nuts and fruit slowly disappeared.  They were kind of pretty, I'll grant you that.  Ever put one in your pocket for later?  What did it look like when you took it out?  Bethca you didn't eat it.  They still sell it.  Does anyone still buy it?

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Sometimes

Just in case you are a little tired of Christmas
Sometimes, I will hear a word.  It doesn't have to be a magnificent thirty letter word or one dripping in drama.  It can be a simple word.  That word will root itself into my brain and start to agitate.  I mean really, it just won't let me be.  This morning I was watching TV..yes, this early in the day, I admit it, and for some reason the word earth was used in connection to some gardening thing that I was blindly staring at.  I turned off the telly.   Earth.    Why was that word irritating me.  Earth.  I wandered off to do a few jobs and, as I did, other words came to join Earth.  Now I was in trouble.  When words gang up on me I have to write them down.  They do not necessarily form a sentence or a poem or a story, they are just a collection of words and I HAVE to write them down.
gone to earth
like the foxes
in their dens
I have found
my place
and rest me there

You see what I mean.  Totally unrelated to anything and yet there they are and if I didn't write them down they would clang around in my head all day.  Now I can get on with my day.

It Wouldn't Be Christmas Without Them

I post these every Christmas for the dubious benefit of anyone who isn't familiar with this dear man and his music:



\

Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.  This was music my folks had on the old 78's.

Monday, 19 December 2016

It's Possessed

My chair is 'out to get me'.  My dear old 'office' chair, purchased for its ergonomic qualities, 'has it in' for me.  Really.
It all started innocently enough with a split in the seat covering.  No big deal.  A piece of duct tape and I'm back in business.  Then, the pure evil kicked in.  As I sit at the keyboard I get a sinking sensation.  Suddenly I am keying uphill.  I make a quick adjustment and all is well again.  It may be a week or more before it does it again, or, it could happen several times in one day.  I decided to look upon the situation as an opportunity for a little exercise.  The chair didn't like my positive attitude.  Now...the wheels have crumbled.  I find little pieces of black plastic on the floor.  At one point there was only one good wheel left so I was sitting lopsided as I slowly sank to 'nose on the keyboard' position.  Now all the wheels are broken so I'm 'sitting pretty' again although still sinking every so often.
I wonder what else this devilish chair has in mind?  Golly, it's only about eight years old.  Is that the new expected life span for home office chairs?  Well, I know what I'm asking Santa for this year.  A gal can only take so much abuse.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Another Christmas Tale.

"Have you kids looked outside this morning?  There's something you should see out there."
No, the kids had not looked outside nor had their parents.  We had been lost in the blizzard of wrapping paper and bows and the squeals of delight.  We would look now.  What were we missing out there?  Out the front window we could see something in the snow.  What was it?  We opened the front door and stepped out onto the porch into the crisp white morning.  There was no doubt about what we were seeing...sleigh tracks and hoof prints.  There could be no mistaking it.  A few nibbled carrot tops and shreds of hay lay along the tracks where hungry reindeer had taken a midnight snack.  Boot prints led from where the sleigh had rested, along the reindeer prints and up to the porch.  A fragment of ribbon lay on the steps.  Three wide eyed kids had their beliefs strengthened by the silent evidence of a late night visitor  In a quiet, adults only moment, Mr Christmas divulged some of his secrets.  Apparently an old pair of skis and some rope were involved.  Another priceless Christmas memory courtesy of Mr. Christmas.  Thanks Dad.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Mr. Christmas

Christmas at Mom and Dads house..early 1980's...our daughter and my sisters kids bedded down for the night, or so we hoped.  They were talking, and laughing, up and down, in and out and the Moms were getting just a tad frazzled.  Once more into the fray to get them settled down when suddenly, seemingly from the roof, arose such a clatter.  A thump, a jingle, and footsteps could be heard.  Three kids pulled the blankets over their heads and went as silent as mice.  No one heard a sound from them for the rest of the peaceful silent night.  Out in the living room a chubby cheerful man with pink cheeks and a jelly belly chucked.  "I'll bet that settled them down." he said.  Thanks Dad.  Thanks for the magic, for the quiet kids and the memory.

Friday, 16 December 2016

A Favourite Christmas Gift




'Cowboy Joe' wearing one of her most favourite Christmas gifts.   My trusty steed by my side, my six shooters at the ready, bring on the bad guys.  Probably 1951 or 1952.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Don't Look Up

Have you noticed?  Where ever you go people are wandering about, heads down, thumbs flicking.  They sit in restaurants opposite each other and do the same thing...heads down, thumbs flicking.  Why did they bother to go out with each other?



Heads down,
thumbs busy.
Push and shove.
No eyes to meet,
no smiles to greet.
Living in individual worlds,
islands unto themselves,
a disconnected connection
of sorts. 
Traffic rumbles and grumbles.
Machinery plays a staccato tune.
Poisonous fumes fill the air.
A sparrow
builds its nest
in a store awning
and cares for its young.
No one notices.
A man with a sign
wants to work for food

to feed his young.
No one sees.
In each mind
a glowing vision
of green grass, sunlight,
children playing, friends, family

exists.
If you don't look up
you can still see it.
If you look up, the fantasy
(for such  is life)
 melts away.
You then,  have to face
reality. 
Something to avoid
at all cost ….

but….
what cost?

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Pounded

A square peg
pounded remorselessly
into the
round hole of life
becomes by necessity
damaged, 
splintered.
Whole pieces 
of what it is
lying broken,
blasted,
screaming to be
once more,
a part of the whole
that used to be.
And while now
the peg
resides firmly lodged
in the round hole
of acceptance,
it is
no longer complete,
unhappy with itself,
for the good
of the whole.

I have always been odd...but now....after years of hammering, I have the appearance of a round peg in a round hole.  It's an uncomfortable fit.  Lately I have been trying to reclaim those splintered aspects of myself....

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

A Christmas Cat

Are you tired of my Christmas memories yet?  Sorry about that.

.  We adopted Nick late in his life, he was eleven, and we had him until he was 18 years old.  From the very first Christmas it was apparent this was his favourite holiday of all.  The minute the tree went up he established his nest under it.  No matter how high the presents piled up he would scooge around until he had made himself a comfy nest amongst them.  We always bought him Christmas presents..usually something stuffed with catnip and complete with sound effects.  I would wrap his gifts and stick them here and there among the others under the tree.  Nick would sort through everything carefully, find his gifts and make a separate pile of them.  His naps would always have him curled up with his head on one of his own gifts.  He never preopened (unless he was better with scotch tape than I think he was) and on Christmas morning he took his turn opening gifts with the rest of us.  So cute.
One year we returned from  a shopping trip during which we had purchased some gifts for Nick.  I tucked my purchases safely away and our daughter tossed hers on her bed to wrap later after we ate.  As we sat at table I heard a thump and a jingle.  "Beth" I said, "I think Nick may have found his Christmas present and has decided to have it early."  Sure enough Nick was laying on his back in Beth's room with his legs wrapped around his newest acquisition and on a catnip high.  There was no separating him from it...she would have to go shopping again.  Lesson learned; wrap the cats gifts right away.
His last Christmas found Nick a lot slower but still very interested in the tree and the gifts.  When it came time to put the ornaments away he made the rounds of the packing boxes and rubbed up against each and every one.  Unbeknown to us, he was saying goodbye to his most favourite time of the year.

Monday, 12 December 2016

What Do You Love Most About Christmas?

All my life I've loved everything about Christmas starting with the story of the Baby in the Manger all the way to the highly commercial and glitzy floats in the Santa Claus Parade.  I love the shopping and wrapping and cooking and decorating.  I love the colours, the sparkle, the lights and smells.  The food, the family the fun....Santa Claus...elves...reindeer...I love it all. I love the excitement of meeting the mail man at the door to see if there are any Christmas cards for us.   I love the musty smell of old ornaments dragged up from the basement in a box with damp spots on it and the layer of dust on the tree stand that makes you sneeze.   I love the loose needles on the living room carpet.  It all makes me smile.  Torn paper and stray bows and gift tags that get lost and you don't know who gave what and you don't really care....little fingers tearing and tugging....little people coming to your knee with a sweet smile and a "this one is for you grandma.  I picked it out myself.".   At our age though, I think the very bestest (I don't care, it IS a word) thing about Christmas is the memories it brings back.  All the people I've loved and miss so much are with me on Christmas Day in my heart.  On this one day of the year my entire family..all of them..no matter how long they have been gone from me...on this one day...they are all here with me sharing Christmas.    What's your favourite thing about Christmas?

Sunday, 11 December 2016

The House On Metcalfe Street

I remember the house on Metcalf Street in Aurora.  I loved that house.  You came in the side door off the driveway and climbed the steep stairs to the kitchen level.  It always smelled of clean and cooking in there.  Just at the top of the stairs you took your shoes or boots off and left them on the newspapers placed there for your convenience.  You walked through the living room to the front bedroom where you put your coat on the bed and checked your hair in the dresser mirror with the little ebony hand mirror that was always there waiting. Grandad would be sitting in his favourite spot on the couch with his pipe, Grandma would be in the kitchen wearing one of her aprons.  All the women folk would be issued an apron and we all sat in the kitchen and caught up on the news.  Great Grandma was usually there as well.  She had such a thin reedy little voice you had to strain to hear her.
Off the kitchen was what people call a "mud room" now but Grandma wouldn't have appreciated that description.  It had a high couch that doubled as a bed for guests (it had a pull out mattress) a table and a radio with a citizen band.  You could get stations from around the world on it.  Best of all there was a pile of magazines and newspapers that you could sort through for reading material. 
The dining room also opened off the kitchen and when all of us gathered we ate in the dining room off Grams good china.  She was a fantastic cook.  Aunt Jean would always fall asleep over desert.  Always.  Someone would say, "there she goes" and we would all laugh.
At New Years when the whole family gathered I don't remember there ever being a Christmas tree.  Mom said  once she started holding Christmas at our house Gram didn't bother any more with a tree.  There were some festive touches though; bottle brush Christmas trees with pink and silver ornaments on the sideboard and a musical church on the piano and a tinsely sparkly centrepiece on the dining room table.
Up a steep flight of stairs was Gram and Grandads bedroom and a bathroom.  The bathroom had been a bedroom at one time and had been converted.  There was one long wall of built in cupboards with sliding doors, black and white tile on the floor, and black and white ceramic tile on the walls half way up.   For a kid used to outdoor plumbing this bathroom was "da bomb".
 .
Bright lights
and tinsel
and elbows
on the table,
old folks
and young
we'll do it
while we're able.
Someday,
when we're gone,
you can tell
the fable
of how we kept
the old ways
of meeting
at the table.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

15 DAYS TO CHRISTMAS

let the panic begin

A Little Glimpse

When I was young we lived in the country.  Most of the houses out our way were set well back from the road at the end of long, treed driveways, or lanes, as we called them; and were barely visible from the road.  Sometimes you could see their lights glimmering through the trees.  We knew these houses and the people in them.  We visited back and forth.  There were no surprises here.
What I really liked was to visit my grandparents in Aurora or my uncle and his family in Oak Ridges.  To get there you had to drive through the towns.  Coming home in the dark I would sit with my face pressed to the glass of the truck window watching for a glimpse into another world.  Hurtling through the dark (or so it seemed to me) we would pass houses, some of them with their curtains open and their lights on.  Little glimpses of the lives of strangers would be afforded.  A family at table, an older person in a big chair reading, sometimes children in their pyjamas eking out a few last moments of freedom before the bed sheets claimed them.
My favourite time of year for this was Christmas.  Not only was there the display of lights outside but there was the glimpse of the family Christmas tree through the window.  Pretty much everyone put their tree right in the window.  I would ooh and aah over the beautiful lights, comment on how tall this tree was or how fat that one was, and wonder how big the pile of presents underneath  their tree would be on Christmas morning.
It reminds me of a promise I made to myself those many long years ago.  I promised myself that when I had a house of my own I would always have my living room curtains open at night with a light on, especially at Christmas, for the benefit of any little girls out there who like to look out the car/truck window for a glimpse into another world.
I still gaze out into the darkness hoping to catch that glimpse; and yes, I keep my promise.


Friday, 9 December 2016

A Christmas Memory









 A Christmas Memory



Tiptoeing through the darkened living room,  lit only by the faint beams of the moon shining through the slats of the venetian blinds, she took care not to look at the Christmas tree looming dark in the corner for fear of ruining any surprises in the morning.  
From the black hole of her parents bedroom door came a sleepy whispery question, “What are you doing up?”
“Sorry Mom, I had to go to the bathroom.  I didn’t look.  I promise.
“All right.  Go back to bed now.”
It was still dark when she realised she just couldn’t stay in bed any longer.  Not for one more minute could she lay there.  Grabbing her gifts for Mom and Dad she ran into their room and piled into bed with them gifts and all.  “It’s Christmas, it’s Christmas.” and they had to wake up.  Every year since she was old enough to know what Christmas was this had been the routine.  Take Mom and Dad their presents first thing.  Then, and only then, was it truly Christmas.  After much admiring one of them would gently remind her that Santa had come and  there just might be a sock hanging on her doorknob.
The sock, a long brown stocking that Santa snitched from her dresser drawer, would always have a tangerine in the toe, a little ornament for her windowsill, some candy and perhaps a small toy.  This too was taken to her parents bed to open and admire and to have the tangerine peeled so they could all share it.
When all three of them had admired what Santa brought they got up, put on their housecoats and slippers and went out to the tree to see what else Santa may have brought.  One year it was a checker game.  Another year it was a game where you put together an insect out of small plastic parts.  Tiddly winks was a big hit one year. 
There would be breakfast eaten under duress.  Who wanted breakfast when there was sock candy to eat?  Everyone had to get cleaned up and dressed in their Sunday best.  Then she ran over to her grandparents side of the house to give them their gifts and to show them what Santa brought.  There was always a small gift from Grandma and Grandad and some homemade rolls with homemade jam.  Almost as good as sock candy.
The other Grandparents arrived just as quickly as they could get themselves ready.  They had to drive from Aurora and they must have gotten up very early because they were never later than 9:00am.  Grandparents understand how hard it is to wait for those fascinating boxes under the tree.  The Grandparents on the other side of the house came over then too and everyone sat around the tree to open the family gifts.
It was a long, lovely day.  There was so much food to eat.  Moms wonderful Christmas dinner, bowls of nuts and fruits and candy sitting out all over the house, Grandad from Aurora always brought her a box of chocolates which were shared with everyone. 
At the end of the day, when everyone was tired and full and warm and happy the tree was lit, the lights were turned off in the living room and they all sat and gazed at the tree as it glowed darkly in its corner.  Another wonderful Christmas.  All her Christmas’s would live forever in her heart.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Another Time

A few years ago I wrote to my Aunt (moms sister) and asked her about Christmas when she and mom were kids.  Mom never really talked about Christmas as a child.  This is her response.


Sorry to take so long to reply , -- about Christmas. Yes we always had a tree, a real one of course since the artificial variety hadn't happened yet.I can remember coming home from school, stepping inside the back door and yelling "I smell Christmas tree".  Mom had bought it from someone who came around door to door through the day and put it in the basement thinking she could surprise us later.  But the nose knows.  The tree went up just one week before Christmas & came down on Jan.2nd.  There were always gifts - about 3 each if I remember correctly, also,  usually,  balloons fastened to the tree that morning just to make the occasion more festive. Helen & I didn't sleep much that night & had to wait until the alarm went off before we could get up.  We then rushed down, collected our gifts & went back to bed. That was necessary because the house was cold.
     Grandma & Grandad Black usually came for the day.  We usually had our dinner at noon , which was chicken with all the trimmings including Christmas pudding for desert.  [I still make that every year as well as the sauce & give some to family & close friends]  After dinner Helen & I would go outside to play , maybe sleigh ride, depending on circumstances..The adults settled in to a few games of cards.  The candies, nuts and oranges weren't brought out until a reasonable time after dinner so we were back in for that. Then all the goodies were put away in good time to preserve our appetite for supper, never to be seen again until New Year's day.
    
     Yes, Christmas was a good time as I remember it as a child, but for the life of me I can't remember much about it as we got older.  There was no gift exchange between Mom & Dad & the Grandparents that I remember . I know Mom must have saved all year just to provide what they did.  Money was tight in those days.  We were all poor but didn't know it

Do you have an older relation you could ask about what Christmas was like in their day? 

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

So Long Ago



When I was a kid (Oh Lord, here she goes) Christmas boiled down to the three F's; family, food and fun.  Gifts were a nice touch but not the most important thing.
Through the two weeks leading up to Christmas and especially the two weeks after Christmas we had lots of family visitors.  Aunts and Uncles and Cousins would drop in to admire the tree.  Family friends (I classified them as Aunts and Uncles as well) also visited, admired the tree and stayed for coffee and snacks.  It was a fun time.
Christmas day was all about family.  The little house was full with two sets of grandparents and one Great Grandmother as well as ourselves.  The house was like a closed universe for us that day.  Everything that mattered was within those four walls.  I can't begin to describe the feeling of safety and security and warmth and love that existed in that house at that time.
When I married and started my own family the location of Christmas changed to our house and the focus of the universe became our child.  She too had two full sets of grandparents and TWO great grandparents.  We maintained all the old traditions of family, food and fun.
Of course, nothing can stay the same forever.  The universe wobbles and wanders off its orbit, suffers catastrophe and disaster and reforms itself into something brand new every so often.  Come Christmas we will again close the doors and enclose a universe that does not bear much resemblance to the universe of old, but still, it is OUR universe and we cherish it.  The little ones are the sun, their mother is planet earth and orbiting on our crusty and gimpy way around the whole thing is one full set of grandparents (us) one other grandfather and a couple of satellite moons of dear friends.  We will have family, food and fun.
When Christmas day draws to a close, when the mess is cleaned up, when the children are snuggled all safe in their beds I will lay my head down and I will attend that Christmas so very long ago.  I will walk through that dear old  house once more, touch the bottle brush wreaths hanging in the windows, gaze with admiration at that spruce Christmas tree in the corner with its two or three strings of lights that used to cause such a frenzy if one went out, I will brush the sleeping faces of my parents and grandparents and I will be home.  As long as I can remember I will never lose them, never lose that feeling of safety and security and warmth and love that existed in that house at that time.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Then and Now

In 1759 my first cousin 7xremoved Andrew Peters perished 2 days before Christmas in the cold of a Hebron, Tolland, Connecticut winter.  In the very early 1900's my Grandfather Peters was given a piece of wood, some nails and the loan of his father’s hammer as a Christmas gift.  He spent the day banging nails.  Somewhere around 1930 my mother, Helen Marie Peters, scooted out of bed on Christmas morning with her sister.  They ran downstairs and gathered up their three gifts each and raced back to bed.  There was no heat in the house.  In the early 50's I would open my door on Christmas morning to a long brown stocking hanging on my doorknob.  It held a small ornament, an orange and some candy.  Under the tree were the gifts Santa had left for me and I could have those before breakfast.  Everything else had to wait until my Peters grandparents arrived from Aurora, Ontario.  In the late '70's our daughter would race into our bedroom with her sock and pile into bed with us to open it.  It was crammed full of little toys and treats.  Santa’s gifts were under the tree and she could have those before breakfast.  Everything else had to wait until my parents arrived from Sharon, Ontario.  Now in the year 2010, our grandchildren will awake to a sock full of goodies and piles of presents from Santa.  They can have those before breakfast.  Everything else has to wait until we arrive from across town.  From being glad you lived through the winter, to nothing very much for Christmas, to a family who scrimped and saved all year long so their children could have three gifts each on Christmas morning in a cold house, to an unbelievable abundance of merchandise all spread out for the benefit of children who have access to healthy food, medical care, warmth and love.  I wonder who was/is most grateful for their Christmas. 

Monday, 5 December 2016

What Do You Remember?



Some Christmas gifts you remember for the rest of your life.  They didn't have to be the most expensive or the biggest but there was something about them that made them truly memorable.
Last night my husband and I were talking about the gifts we remembered from our childhood.   Both of us recalled our magic lanterns.  His was red and mine was black.  You turned off all the lights in your room and placed the magic lantern over a picture.  The picture was then projected on to the wall of your room.  A few years ago I saw one in a collectibles shop and was heavily tempted to buy it.  We  both remember the "make a bug kit".  This was a box with four (I think it was four) bodies, heads, antennas, legs, wings etc etc  and you could mix and match the pieces to create different bugs.
Of course, we didn't get all the same things at Christmas.  After all, he WAS a boy.  He remembers his sled and getting lots of clothing.  I remember the boy doll and stroller and all the clothes that my grandmother made for the doll as part of the gift. One of the most memorable gifts was the year my grandparents gave me a watch.  Totally unexpected.  When I was around twelve, my parents gave me a record player...now THAT was exciting and, again, totally unexpected.  I don't remember ever asking for anything specifically except for books.  I can still hear mom, clear as can be, saying to someone, "no need to ask her what she wants, she always says the same thing, books".
As we talked it became apparent that mostly what we remembered about Christmas was the feeling of excitement, the great food and all the family members we shared the day with.  He remembers Christmas being a whirlwind of visiting and driving to get to places, including the Christmas they had two flat tires and then turned around and went back home.  I remember being snug in my own home all day with two sets of grandparents to visit with.  One set lived in the other side of our split house and the other set drove in from Aurora.
Of course, there is always the Christmas that was ruined by someone being sick.  I clearly remember my poor parents trying to make it Christmas for me and I was too sick to even look in my sock.  It is true that children make your Christmas and that year I didn't do my job.
Both our moms made carrot pudding; his with brandy sauce and mine with brown sugar sauce and brandy flavouring.  I must get that recipe from my aunt before it is too late.  My husband remembers his grandmother bringing the pudding in and the flames as the brandy burned off.
Coming from the same era, we both have the same memories of the tree with its ornery light strings.  Being a boy, my husband remembers being on lights duty with his dad.  The bulbs were so big in those days and yet they did not put out as much light (or so I remember) as the strings of mini lights do today.  The tree glowed "darkly" if you know what I mean.  We only put two or maybe three strings of about 20 bulbs on the tree unlike today when we are told we need 100 lights for every foot of tree.
Some relatives could be counted on to produce exactly the same gift every year.  Each year my Aunt Kay and Uncle Jack would present us with new pyjamas or a housecoat.  I actually looked forward to this tradition.  I remember the year their daughter was old enough to be through school and working.  She bought me a pearl necklace that year.  I was so excited.  The folks across the the road would always give me a book.  My grandfather, no matter what my grandmother bought me for Christmas, would always give me a box of chocolates.  I still have the remains of one of the boxes (probably the last one)  in which I store Christmas ornaments.
As I got older one of  the best parts about Christmas for me became shopping for gifts for my family all by myself.  The first year that I saved all my allowance I think my mother was quite surprised.  I asked her for guidance on how to spend my loot that first year.  It's not easy spreading $10 around six people but in those days you could almost do it.  I think she had to help me out a bit on the last gift.
Those are a FEW of my Christmas memories.  What do you remember?? 

Sunday, 4 December 2016

It's Coming

Like a run-a-way bride
trailing her finery,
a gust of wind
drags a trail of a veil
of fine wet snow
down the street.
Swirls and eddies
of snow white confetti
paste themselves
to curbs and sidewalk cracks.
Meteorological Winter
has declared its vow
to make life
miserable

till Spring do us part.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

In And Out In One Piece

We don't often go to the mall, the hubs and I.  Maybe two or three times a year.  What with one of us being vision and hearing impaired and soooo slow and the other gimping along with a cane and both of us prone to sudden unexpected bathroom stops...well...we feel it best to keep out of the way of serious shoppers.  However, at this time of year it becomes necessary to brave the mall.  And so we did just that this week, taking care to go on a day and at a time when there would be as few people as possible.  We hung on to each other for a combination of guidance and balance and off we went to locate the Salvation Army toy tree.  It seems to be in a different spot each year.  On the way we passed Santa who looked sort of depressed and sprawled out on his throne..not a kid in sight.  Once we located the toy tree we headed for the nearest store that carried toys, which in this case was
Marshall's,  purchased a nice little selection and carted them back to the tree.  Mission accomplished.  A cup of Tim's in the food court was just what the doctor ordered so we sat and watched the foot traffic for a while before staggering out to the car.  Rush hour and crazy Christmas crowds avoided.  See you next Christmas, mall....God willing of course.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Everyone Welcome

Everyone seems to want to come to Canada.  Even our neighbours to the South are investigating life on our side of the border.  It's like we have a sign flashing over the Great Lakes or on one of the many majestic peaks of the Rockies....."Come On Over...It's Much Better Over Here".  It has got me to wondering, just What Is Canada.  I mean, okay, Canada is a lot of land bordered by water on three sides and the Excited States on the fourth but, that's just WHERE we are not WHAT we are.
What is Canada exactly that makes it different from anywhere else.  We have our government debacles just like everyone else.  Our national economy pops up and down like a jack-in-the-box just like yours, where ever you may presently be.  Are we any different or any better?
We are a conglomeration of nationalities, colours, religions, political leanings and sexual preferences held together with the intent of peaceful cohabitation.   Sometimes we fulfil our potential, sometimes we don't.   It's a pretty tall order to expect this many people spread over such a large land mass to always agree. The best we can hope for is that we all allow each other to have our own opinions.  Sometimes we accomplish this and, again, sometimes we don't.  The trick is to not stop trying.
I think what Canada really is, is a concept.  It's a free floating, ever changing, constantly evolving concept.  It's a really great concept.  So....if you want to be a part of it.  Come on over.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Sweet Memories


Gram and Grandad doing the annual Christmas photo shoot.  Early '50's I woujld say.  Note the tinsel garland....just little circles of foil strung on regular string.  Those big lights gave us lots of trouble over the season.  The reflectors fastened to the bulbs served two purposes...they reflected the light and lifted the bulbs away from the branches.

Dad at our house in the 80's.


reflectors


oldies but goldies


these ornaments hung on my Dads tree when he was a little guy...mid to late '20's