I saw this picture on Facebook and the tears came down my face. I was raised pretty well by my grandparents and they were the beginning footsteps to making my life a kinder softer world when life wasn’t so grand.
Years have passed since my grandmother Mary Louise Deller Knight died. I was her granddaughter, yet I also was her daughter, as she was always there for me with her comforting hands and warm smile. There was never a day that went by that she did not smell of fresh baking, and Evening in Paris perfume.
I want to sit in her kitchen again with my feet dangling off the chair watching the flames of the wood stove, and smell the first pot of coffee, while I watch the sun come up. I want to see her boil my grandfather’s egg, and watch her tap it exactly four times to break it, while wiping her brow with one of her dishtowels.
I want her to send me to the Dairy at exactly 11:30 am, to buy one quart of milk in a clear glass bottle that has the paper closure tab on top. I want to feel her press that shiny extra dime in my hands that she will give me when I go. I sit here and imagine the cold creamy ice cream I will buy with just a hint of strawberry sweetness, that will slide across my tongue after my lunch.
I want to go grocery shopping with her on Friday nights like we used to do, and watch her ask the butcher for suet to feed the birds. She could never ever just give the birds in her yard bird seed. I want to hear her tell everyone in the grocery store how much she loves her granddaughter. Some of them will not understand, as they only speak French. But, they will nod their heads and smile, and call her ” Madam.”
I want to hear the clock strike nine once more on a Friday night, and watch her put Cheese Whiz on Saltine crackers while the overture for the Tommy Hunter Show begins.Then she will pour me a tall glass of milk to wash it all down while I ask her why we have to watch Tommy Hunter again.
Most of all I want to smell her macaroni and cheese baking in the oven while she dances around to the music on the radio. She will make a huge garden coleslaw to go with it, and everyone will have seconds and we will serve each helping with our matching aprons.
I want to hear her scold me again for messing up the clear plastic cover on her teal blue uncomfortable couch. Yes, the same couch I will make out on, with my boyfriend years down the road, and she will not know. One day I told her I did not want to be left here alone after she died. As she wiped her hands on her apron she told me I had to remain and carry on– so I do.
If I could save time in a bottle The first thing that I’d like to do Is to save every day ‘Til eternity passes away Just to spend them with you
Christmas is a very special lime of year, and one that conjures up a flood of memories of Christmases gone by. Most particularly it is a time of year lor sharing warm wishes with acquaintances and friends. So in this holiday spirit the staff of The Gazette would like to share a few memories of our past Christmases with our readers.
Linda O’Connell was one of a large family and the excitement! I remember getting up in the wee small hours of Christmas morning with my brothers and sisters and sitting on the stair steps to watch the clock. Six am was the magic hour when her parents got up and the present unwrapping could begin.
Being from a Catholic family, Angus Mantil remembers the custom of going to midnight mass on Christmas eve. After mass, the family came home and enjoyed their presents right then After the excitement of all the unwrapping, a snack of homemade turkey maybe, and then to bed.
Don Runge has fond memories of the Christmas where he spent on a kibbutz in Israel He and a carload of friends took a trip to Jerusalem on Christmas eve. Don remembers stopping along the way in the middle of the desert on that cold, clear night Being so far away from any sort of Christmas as commercialism was very beautiful, he felt.
Barbara Shenstone recalled a Christmas as when her family was living in Cairo, Egypt. She worried quite a bit about whether Santa would find them in that strange country, and was so concerned for the plight of his reindeer in such unaccustomed hot weather.
Susan Fisher has memories of an extra special treat around the long table at her grandmother’s house. At the Christmas meal the children were allowed to have gingerale in their wine glasses and that was the only time of year ‘junk food’ like soft drinks were allowed.
Allison King remembers large family parties of 10 or more people on Christmas eve. In fact, one Christmas the turkey was so huge her mother couldn’t fit it into the oven.
Doug Lorimer remembers the days before electric tree lights when the family Christmas tree was illuminated with candles. Because of the danger of fire, the candles were lit only for a brief moment while everyone admired the tree.
Bev Dodd also went to midnight mass on Christmas eve with her family Being just a little girl and as it was such a late night, Bcv has memories of falling asleep during the service.
Kerrine Lyons and her family went to her grandparents house after all the presents had been unwrapped. She remembers a great crowd of 10 or 40 aunts, uncles and cousins sitting down to lunch there After all that excitement, the rest of the day was a bit of a let down.
Cutting a Christmas Tree at the House of Old at R. R. # 4
You know when you are a city folk and you decide to move to the county, and it’s your first Christmas at the House of Old. You know all it takes is a dusting of snow that glistens in the dark when the moon shines. One can not imagine what thoughts goes through your mind, it’s the Christmas Season
It does not matter that the house is not new and fancy, maybe you don’t have the latest in household items. What matters is the beauty and the serenity of the place. If you take the time to look at your surroundings you are in awe of what the night brings. I found I could see stars I never did in the city before. The old Owl was sitting on the corner of the Barn that had seen better days, but this was a distant project to protect. The Hoot from the Owl just completed the setting and life was good, he was just acknowledging our presence, he approved.
You know, I might want to call myself a bit of a romantic, but life was good, my family was with me, everyone enjoying a walk after dinner. A discussion was happening with some very excited voices of the kids, what their first Christmas in the Country what was going to be like. They were all excited about venturing to the Sugar Bush to cut down a fresh tree from the land where they lived.
They were happy with the first snowfall, and our dog had been taken off his lead to walk with us at his leisure, he had to be tied as he did love to chase the neighbour’s cattle and that was a, No, No. You never think of the retraining of your pet, to country ways but there is, after all sort of beasts, he was not used to like porcupines, who demonstrates displeasure should he get to close. While being tied, he was so used to the deer coming to the apple trees he did not seem to bother with them. I do have to admit the kids, maybe thought some of the deer were Santa’s Reindeer. Every once and awhile they would speak to our dog Bow and say, don’t hurt the babies, and he never did chase them or did he harm them in any way. He would watch as they cleaned up the falls on the ground and enjoy every morsel. Was it magic maybe they were some of Santa’s reindeer.
From the first snowfall, the idea of Christmas was sure to generate conversation on Christmas and what it was going to be like in the countryside. To keep our two children on track and focussed, we decided that the tree that would be cut, would have nothing but handmade decorations. There will be a couple of exceptions and that was the old antique ornaments of my grandparents and parents tree, and they just always went on, you know one of those traditions. In order to keep the children busy we decided that we would get them started making the Christmas Ornaments for our tree.
Well the decoration workshop got busy, and we planned what would go on the tree. Some coloured construction paper was bought, adults cut with the scissors and the kids made the chains and glued. An old bushel basket was placed in the Summer Kitchen to put the ornaments as they finished. We strung popcorn and cranberries for garlands. The bits and pieces of skeins of wool was gathered to make some hanging little dolls, both boys and girls.
We had decided that we would invite the extended family for Christmas Dinner, Oh dear our Dream of an Old Fashioned Country Christmas had got slightly out of hand. The last head count was about fourteen adults and OMG kids, about eleven of them, yes we had a place to hold that many bodies as we would be eating in the Summer Kitchen which was a big room.
The heating for the Summer Kitchen was a big old Findlay Wood Stove, six plates and a warming closet with Lion Heads adorning the corners and a water reservoir attached to the stove. As we heated with wood in the house we did have a good supply and it was just outside in the wood shed. No Worry, my husband always called me the wood sorcerer, as the wood furnace was my chore to keep it burning, it went out when he tried to tend it.
The food was good, everybody was bringing something, an old fashioned Pot Luck, and I did not have to do the desert–someone else had volunteered, I had Christmas Cake we made for a treat. We had enough Potatoes, Carrots and other things from the Garden, including summer savoury and parsley. I had made some Meat Pies (Tourtieres) and Sausage Rolls, using my Mom’s recipe, we had enough to feed an army.
As we were having a fresh tree it would be put up a week before Christmas, the Summer Kitchen was cool and that was good for the tree. Come Saturday, the kids were out of bed at the Crack of Dawn, and were ready to go, breakfast was needed so that did slow down the pressing duty. To watch the expressions on their face it was worth a thousand pictures. We found a tree and it was a beauty, the only thing was it was big. Father cut another piece off the bottom when we brought it in, and soon it was in the old pail with some water to keep it fresh, with the cut off branches used for some greenery to decorate. The only problem was keeping the kids from decorating, right away, they just could not understand the tree needing to find its place and the branches fall into place. They did not need a lesson in a tree being frozen being outside, too much information for the situation.
It was a good thing school was still in session for a couple of days, as this put off the decorating process for another few days. When the anticipation was at its highest peak and holding off decorating could not be extended any longer, so the tree trimming started. Now being as they had never decorated a tree from the start, it was hard to restrain them while Dad was placing the lights on the tree. One could tell that this process was definitely holding them back and they were all ready to start.
“Is it time yet Dad, can we put some decorations on yet, please Dad”.
It was a parent decision to let them go ahead and we would rearrange later. Homemade star for the top, crochet decorations over Candy Canes, Some Pine Cone Elves, and the chains and the garlands are a few of the Creations that adorned our tree, and the treat the fresh smell of evergreens. It was a good idea to not bring out the tinsel, as the placement would have been clumpy and not one string at a time. Restraint is great in some situations and I have to admit that the tree cutting, homemade decorations, and all the elements, just did fulfill the dream of a Country Christmas in a country setting, and what a delight that we made the decision to come.
By the way the meal was delicious and the family did enjoy their experience of a Christmas in the Country. A trip to the Sugar Bush for some, while dishes were being done was also a highlight. The next Christmas we had our own home raised Turkeys, the taste superb, after all they were fed fresh corn and apples from the farm, along with their meal. Each family received a turkey as part of their Christmas Gift. Have not tasted a good wholesome turkey since leaving the House of Old.
To be honest we had stopped decorating the interior of the house in a big way after the fire in 1995. Two years ago, I sucked my heart in and decorated every single room for the Carleton Place Hospital Foundation Christmas House Tour. Not everyone was behind my decision, but I had to make this effort in his memory. I knew that the house would never again display his talents and love for the season, and wanted to do it as a tribute for his love of Christmas.
After the fire we all remembered the ravaged Christmas tree that stood in a corner, so instead, he put up a giant tree in the TV room in 1995 and bought music boxes. That tree has stood there 365 days a year since December 1996 and will never ever come down. Read-In Memory of The Man Who Loved Christmas
I can’t remember how old I was when I began to watch Charlie Brown Christmas programs. All I know is at the age of 70 I can still quote a lot of the text from the TV shows with tears in my eyes, and now my grandkids watch them.
Charlie Brown reminds me of a lot of friends I walked through life with. They were never sure which road to take, and then when they did, they still questioned it.
However, Pig-Pen didn’t care if anyone brought him down because of his constant lingering smell and trailing dust. Each Christmas Pig-Pen reaffirmed that:
It is OK if you just don’t smell right some days.
It is OK to sit around with dirty hair and pyjamas, too.
It is OK to be silent and OK to be not.
It is OK to not join a crowd.
It is OK to treat your home like a dust magnet sometimes.
It is OK to drag some of your perpetually messy past life around as long as it just becomes a pile of dust behind you.
What if today we didn’t get our tinsel in a tangle and we were just grateful for everything this Christmas?
Stop looking up at the sky and eating those December snowflakes. Remember how great life can be during the holidays, and maybe just save them for January.
LINDA SECCASPINA CARLETON PLACE (Thankfulness is always a virtue.)
The will in the heart of man to do and dare is not dead nor does life get tedious, not around Appleton anyway, ’tis said. Mr. Howard Fumerton of the 11th line of Beckwith, bought a building from Mr. Elmsley of the 11th line of Ramsay and expressed a desire to move the buiding intact. So with men arid tractors, the procession started. Old Timer ‘Bete’ was noticed standing by sadly shaking his head and murmuring “It can’t be done.”
But through fields, highways and byways the moving proceeded slowly until one afternoon something happened one of the skids and the building settled down in a creek for the night. Mr. Art Fumerton came to the rescue and eventually the building was in Mr. Fumerton’s yard and he firmly believes in the Spirit of Christmas and the old saying “It can’t be done” has changed to “who says it can’t.”
This letter to Santa was written by Ruby Butler from Perth, Ontario in 1918.
The armistice of November 11, 1918, brought relief to the whole world and hope to 10-year-old Ruby Butler in Perth. The Spanish flu, however, was a devastating and previously unknown form of influenza, and struck Canada hard between 1918 and 1920. This international pandemic killed approximately 55,000 people in Canada, most of whom were young adults between the ages of 20 and 40. No matter what we are going through, we have all worked together this year, and while we can’t smooth out the surf, we are all learning to ride the waves safely and carefully. As old Mr. Fumerton said in Almonte,” “It can’t be done” has changed to “who says it can’t.”
What has not changed is that the children of the world are still writing to Santa amid a world that a lot of them do not understand. Yesterday my daughter in law sent me a photo of my grandchildren and their cousin sitting in front of a window where they could hang out with Santa safely. I looked at Tenley’s eyes and saw the love and belief in her eyes. Santa still exists, and while I am old enough to understand that a man cannot fly around the globe led by reindeer, I still believe in the magic. I love spreading magic because it relives our childhood memories and encourages everyone to have kindness, empathy and generosity in their hearts, especially when we need them most like now.
Like the writer of the 1918 Santa letter who did not want Santa to die I am sure the children of today have had lots of fears that they do not talk about. They probably also silently worry someone they know will contract the disease, but they remain silent. This year I chose not to remain silent. From my kitchen island I decided to spread virtually what I thought would take people’s minds off of things, and the pandemic, and make them smile. The child we once were stays with us, and I for one refuse to let it go.
This year especially; I feel there is a lot we can learn from the children we used to be. That little person still exists; you just need to listen to what he or she has to say. It’s important to learn from experience, to change and become a better person. But, what most people seem to think is in order to do so, we must leave our old selves behind– and that is wrong. The easiest thing in the world was having fun as a child because even the littlest things made us happy. They still can.
If there is one thing you ought to try and hold on to for this year and next year– it’s this: Be happy, have fun with the simplest of things, enjoy life, and find hope in even the most dire circumstances — you’ll find the strength to accomplish things others wouldn’t believe possible.
For a day take a step back and revert to olden days when crazy cartoons and bowls of sugary cereal felt like living the dream. Laugh every day, love yourself like children do, be kind, considerate, and compassionate. Each New Year gives us the perfect chance to start something new and fresh. Just make the world a better place for yourself and others. Make someone happy….
As old Mr. Fumerton said in Almonte,” “It can’t be done” has changed to “who says it can’t.”
Temley age 6, Linda me, Elia age 3, Sophia age 7 and Baby R (another girl) coming any day now!!
It is December 15th, almost a week before Christmas, and you would never know it. I wrote a piece a few years ago called “Searching For Christmas” and it seems, as the years go by, it disappears more and more. The Martha Stewart Christmas CD plays for the umpteenth time, and after 17 Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel I just can’t watch another. Or can I?
I had something happen to me a few years ago that was life altering. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about it, and it has literally changed my perspective on life. It was almost like learning there was no Santa Claus when I was a child. That innocence that reinforced the goodness of mankind suddenly vanished. So, I sit here and ask myself, how many Christmases do I have left? What if I had not lived, and missed Christmas that year? Well, I did live, and Christmas is almost around the corner.
So I try to snap out of this funk and remember. I remember the smell of Christmas trees and their sharp pine pungent scent, and the smell of home baking in the air. To be honest, the last years of my childhood Christmases were not spent smelling a fresh evergreen tree. It was gazing at the latest model of Sears “best in the line ” decorator trees in my Grandmother’s living room. I remember the delicate fragile glass ornaments that belonged to years gone by and the blue lights on the tree.
I can still hear Miss Watson playing the church organ next to the Chrismtas tree at Trinity Anglican Church, which also shone with blue lights. I felt like it was something that was decided upon one Altar Guild Day in one fell swoop of a pact. Can I still hear these women talking with their glasses perched on their noses and fluffing their short tight perms? Did these church ladies decide that blue lights, and only blue lights, should be on a Christmas tree? I am positive that’s what happened and then they all went home and changed their lights to blue in a no nonsense way.
Memories then flood my mind of two weeks after Christmas in 1995 when my sons and I stood on top of a water- soaked carpet looking sadly at a completely black Christmas tree. Staring at the remainder of a horrible fire that burned everything the day before, my oldest son wondered if his purchase of one small TY Beanie Baby monkey started the fire that turned our lives upside down for over a year. He is very much like his mother. We dwell on things and don’t give them up. We are good at that.
But Christmas went on the next year and no one was a Negative Nancy. We still watched Charlie Brown’s Christmas and baked cookies and hung up stockings and I still left small presents on the door steps of the elderly. So what to do? How do I get out of this Downer Dan mood? I decided to make Butter Tarts–now that would make me feel festive.
Twenty minutes later after listening to Loreena McKennitt singing “Good King Wenceslas” for the umpteenth time, I take the tarts from the oven. They smell wonderful and I know they will be enjoyed. I turn the Martha Stewart Christmas CD off and file it away, not to be played for… let’s say…at least a day. Charlie Brown’s Christmas by Vince Guaraldi fills the air and I dance. I realize the holidays are what you make out of it and not to expect anyone to drop the Holiday spirit outside your bathroom door– because it just isn’t going to happen. Christmas just isn’t a season–it’s a feeling sometimes being torn for the familiar and just a chance to feel old feelings twice. If kisses were snowflakes I would send each and everyone of you a blizzard.
Santa Claus arrived in Almonte Thursday afternoon, Dec. 23rd, but he came by sleigh and not on the train as expected. It had been advertised that the old boy would be aboard the 3.45 east bound Pembroke local but this train was late owing to a mishap near Pembroke. After Santa waited for quite a while at Blakeney, where he had no doubt been distributing presents, it was decided to bring him into town in a cutter. There was nothing very unusual about this mode of conveyance for Santa Claus except that the vehicle was drawn by a horse instead of the reindeer he uses when on his Arctic travels.
When Santa alighted from the sleigh it was found he had been accompanied from the North Pole by his wife. Some of the youngsters seemed to detect a likeness between Santa and someone they had seen around town before and the same went for Mrs. Santa. But, be that as it may, the two got a great reception in front of the O’Brien from a vast throng of children who had been waiting impatiently for some time for their arrival.
A special welcome was extended to Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus by Mayor Alex. McDonald and by Mr. Karl Paupst, head of the Lions Club which sponsored the entertainment for the children and the visit of St. Nicholas and his jolly lady. A parade was formed according to schedule and was led by the distinguished visitors in their horse and cutter. It proceeded through the main streets of the town and was made up of floats decorated along Christmas lines; the Citizens’ Band providing music and a group of Mrs. R. G. Kenny’s pupils on a truck singing carols.
On returning to the O’Brien Theatre the young folk crowded in for a free show and generous gifts of candy and oranges. Mr. R. A. Jamieson, K.C., acted as master of ceremonies for the program. Nor were children in the Rosamond Memorial Hospital forgotten. Santa Claus visited them too and presented them with gifts similar to those given out at the theatre.
Dr. J. R. Fraser was chairman of the committee in charge of the Lions Club Christmas party. Assisting him were Messrs. John Lindsay, Jam es Brown, R. A. Jamieson and Nick Carrie. There was a great deal of work entailed in the arrangements not the least of which was the packing of some 650 bags of candy. Special films had been procured for the children’s entertainment which radiated the spirit of Yuletide and Santa Claus, not to mention Mrs. Santa Claus. It is said the latter henpecks poor old Santa to beat the band during their long sojourn in an igloo near the North Pole. In fact this is so much the case that Santa is always glad when Christmas rolls around and he is able to leave her for a few weeks. But this year she was too cute for him and came along to see that he behaved himself, especially with the young ladies of this southern climate because Mrs. Santa is a very jealous gal.
Not withstanding the greater amount of shopping which is conducted at this period of the year, delivery restrictions remain in effect. it is pointed out by the regional office of the Wartime Prices and Trade Board, and no special concessions can or will be granted for their relaxation.
“This Christmas will not be like the old, peaceful holiday of pre-war days,” James Stewart, administrator of Services for the Board, remarked recently. “Labor, gasoline, rubber and vehicles are vitally needed by the armed services and war industries and must be conserved.”
Accordingly, Christmas shoppers are advised to carry as many of their parcels as they can since retailers are permitted to make only one delivery a day. This advice is given, together with a suggestion that the public shop early, to avoid an overtaxing of delivery facilities. “We have been assured,” Mr. Stewart adds, “that only those who leave their Christmas shopping to the last minute will suffer any inconvenience by reason of the delivery restrictions continuing in force.”
Fear having been expressed in some communities that farmers who have been in the habit of slaughtering livestock and selling meat to regular customers either on public markets from door to door will be prevented from doing so under the slaughtering order of the Wartime Foods Administration now points out that there is no intention whatever of interfering with this legitimate meat trade.
Banners who engage in it are of course, required to obtain permits before they carry out slaughtering of livestock for the sale of meat to others, but as long as this trade is conducted in accordance with the regulations of the Board and there is no attempt deliberately to evade those regulations or to violate the ceiling on meat prices, they need have no fear of interference with their accustomed practice.
Farmers who have always been in the habit of selling meat to their customers on markets or elsewhere will be permitted to continue that business. They will be granted permits to carry on this trade as soon as they make application, and these permits will be in effect until such time as officers of the Board have reviewed each case and decided it upon its merits, after which new permits for continued operations will be granted. No permits are, however, needed when the farmer slaughters livestock for consumption in his own household.