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 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




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 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


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

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
Something to avoid
at all cost ….

what cost?

Wednesday, 14 December 2016


A square peg
pounded remorselessly
into the
round hole of life
becomes by necessity
Whole pieces 
of what it is
lying broken,
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 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.
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


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 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

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.


oldies but goldies

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

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Bringing Home The Tree

Growing up, our tree was always a real tree from the first Christmas I can remember until I was well into my twenties, and yes, still living at home.  A few times we cut one ourselves (just to give me the experience I guess) but mostly Dad would pick one up at a tree lot a couple of weeks before Christmas and leave it outside for a week before bringing it in.  He said he 'needed to look at it a bit'.
He always bought a tree that was way too big for our little house but there was a method to his madness.  You see, no tree is perfect.  There is usually one side of the tree that is a little 'sparse' shall we say.  When Dad cut the bottom off the tree in order for it to fit in without bending at the ceiling and when he trimmed the trunk a foot or so,  (to make room for presents underneath don't you know) there were always several lovely branches that could be used to ''fluff up'  the thin parts of the tree.   Dad would use the brace and bit to drill a few holes in the trunk and insert the extra branches.  The result?  TaDa!  A perfect tree.
In the beginning (gee, just like Genesis) there was no tree stand in which to pour water.  Those came along a few years later.  Dad would nail a large wooden cross to the underside of the trunk which enabled the mighty fir/spruce/pine (whatever the flavour of the day was) to stand up beautifully balanced.   Dad, however, was a man who took no chances when it came to kids, cats and trees.  There was a hook in our ceiling directly above where the tree always stood.  A wire was attached from the tree to the hook. That tree wasn't going anywhere.
At first it was Dad who looked after the strings of lights and Mom who decorated the tree.  As time went by Dad still did the lights but my sister and I decorated the tree.  A few years later, Dad tossed us the lights and said, "Go to it.  Good luck."  To give Mom credit I don't think she ever readjusted any of the decor on the tree which is really saying something because she was a bit of a 'tinsel perfectionist'.
When I hit my twenties I began to be aware of a certain amount of resistance from Dad when it came to anything Christmas, particularly the tree.  One year, when it was one week to Christmas and no evidence of a tree on the property, I took matters into my own hands.  I walked down to the corner lot and bought a tree, the last one on the lot, and dragged it home  slowly and, I might add, painfully, by myself.  Mom and Dad were out for the evening so I leaned it up against the side of the house by the back door and left it there.   In the morning Mom told me the story of their ride home.  They had reached the turn to our street (you know, where the tree lot was) and Dad said "Hey, look at that, someone bought a tree and dragged it home the old fashioned way."  A little further along the street all he had to say was "Hmmm....."  And finally he turned to Mom and said, "You know, I think I know where that tree is going."
The best tree we ever had though, didn't need any fluffing or fixing and was heard me was free.  One week before Christmas and no sign of a tree (sound familiar) and the four of us were crammed into the car of Dads pickup to do the last little bit of Christmas shopping and grocery buying before the big day.  Three of us were determined that we weren't coming home without a tree.  Tree lot after tree lot disappeared in the rear view mirror on the way to town.  Tree lot after tree lot disappeared in the rear view mirror on the way home.  Not one lot passed without being remarked upon by at least one of the female passengers.  Dads blood pressure was rising...our agitation was noticeable.  Finally Dad exploded with, "For Pete's sake, stop badgering me, we'll get a tree okay."  Just at the corner of our street (you know, where the tree lot is) a huge truck loaded with Christmas trees up ahead of us hit a bump in the road know where this is going right....a tree fell off the truck, the truck kept going, Dad stopped and threw the tree in the back and said, "There.  Are you satisfied?  We got a tree."  BEST TREE EVER    That year on boxing day Mom bought an artificial tree and we never had a real tree again.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Big Things...Little Things

Have you ever noticed it's not the big things that drive you screaming over the edge like lemmings off a cliff?   It's the little things that do it.  Seems you can handle death, marriage, birth, loss of job....but that lady on TV who says "Get chore house sold." can raise your blood pressure.  That guy on the fragrance commercial who asks you, "How's a guy supposed to move on-uh?"  He makes me grind my teeth.  Or, how about that guy who sits in your living room and can never take his coffee cup with him when he leaves the room?  That guy.  Yeah.  Talk about road rage?  He gives me living room rage.  Daily.  The kid who never calls Mom unless she wants something.  That can start a rant that goes on for hours-uh.'s the little things.  The straw on the camels back things.  I can stand the big load, it's the straws that are killing me.

Monday, 28 November 2016

The Shopping and the Wrapping

Years ago.  So many years ago.  Christmas shopping was so simple then.  Mom would take me out to the five and dime store where we would pick up Christmas gifts for me to give to Dad and my Grandparents.    It never varied; socks or hankies for the men or sometimes a box of cigars for Grandad Peters, I can't remember what we bought for the Grandmothers.  The gifts were always something that would be used, practical things usually, except for the cigars.  Cigars came in nice flat little boxes.  White Owls sticks in my mind.  When I got old enough I was allowed to help with the wrapping.  "Put the tape here." would be the instruction, or, "Fold the paper like this."  Do you remember the Christmas stickers and gift tags from the early 50's?  You licked the stickers.  At the end of a wrapping session your tongue was glued to the roof of your mouth.  One memory stands out crystal clear.  Grandads cigars were wrapped and Mom said I could put on the stickers and the tag and then she wandered away to put on the tea.  I covered the entire package with stickers.  You couldn't see the wrapping for the stickers.  Mom mentioned that there was no need for so many but it went under the tree just like that.
When my Mom passed away and we were cleaning out her closet Dad told me to take all the wrapping papers home with me as he had no intention of gift shopping and wrapping ever again.  I did as I was told.  A few years later, desperate for some paper I dumped out the bag of wrapping supplies.   This is what I found:

I can't remember when we last used these stickers to gift wrap.  Moms hands were the last to touch them as she frugally stored them away.  "You never know when you might need them"...I can hear her now.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

An Organized Christmas

Do you have your Christmas cards mailed yet?   We get our few cards out the first week in December to avoid the rush.  Writing out these few cards always reminds me of my mothers annual Christmas Card blow out extraordinaire.  There must have been close to 200 people on her list and each and every card had a short personal note in it.
Most of her cards had  glittery sparkle on them that felt thick and crusty.
Back then you could mail a sealed Christmas card for five cents.  It was cheaper if you didn't seal the envelope.
The dining room table was off limits for about a week as Mom chewed her way through the list and added new people to it.
Mom was what you would call a "considerate poster".  There were no postal or zip codes back then you see, so Mom would separate all her cards into cities, God bless her, and wrap them in an elastic band with a little piece of paper on top that said  "all.......(whatever city it was).  I'm sure the post office thought she was some kind of divine presence.
We would make a special trip in to Newmarket and take them right into the post office rather than letting the mail carrier pick them up at the end of the driveway.  One year she found one of her bundles lying in the snow so she didn't trust the carrier for this very important duty.
Each and every card that came in to our home was thoroughly examined, read and cherished by my Mom.  Every card and envelope was compared to "the list" and addresses were corrected and the name ticked off.  Organized...that was Mom.

The following Christmas the cards would be handed over to me to make gift tags from.  The backs of the cards were saved for grocery lists.  No waste,

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Gifts of the Magi

Mom and Dad loved music when I was young.  They had a huge stack of 78's of music from well back into the early 40's through to the current day.  They used to have an old suitcase style record player, just a box really with a top that clipped on and a leather handle.  It was quite large.   It only played 78's.  I remember them changing the needles on the player arm.  Is this freaking out those from the CD generation?  Well, this is how our music was delivered back in the day.
I think I was around eleven or twelve when I became aware of Elvis Presley.  My cousin was a very few years older than I and really into the music of the day.  When we went to visit Uncle Jack and Aunt Kay I was sometimes invited to the basement to listen to my cousins records.  I have to admit, at that stage in my life, I really wasn't impressed with modern music.  I could hum you "String of Pearls" with no problem though.
At any rate, I guess Mom and Dad started to think about how close I was to being a teenager and how my ideas and tastes would be changing very very soon.  That Christmas as the big day approached I noticed that the pile of gifts under the tree was small indeed.  It was never huge, you understand, but this year it was really small.  It went unmentioned of course, because I knew that part of our Christmas tradition was that Dad got laid off every year without fail.  It could be that this year things were tighter than usual.
Come Christmas morning you can imagine my surprise to see a  brand new record player and stand beside the tree with a big red ribbon on it and a gift tag addressed to me.  The player was a smaller version of Mom and Dads old suitcase player.  It was more modern looking.  More manageable.  It played 78's, 45's and 33's.   I was given a brief instructional tour of the workings.  There was a new Elvis 45 to play and all their old 78's were on the stand.  We had music all Christmas day and at night the new player and stand was moved to my bedroom.  The 78's went in my room too.  Mom and Dad had traded in their old player to help pay for the new one for me.  And the other gift from the Magi?   While I eventually did learn to like modern music and built a collection of my own, I still loved the old records and the music of the day that Mom and Dad liked so they still got to hear their favourites as well.

Friday, 25 November 2016

It seems like yesterday I mentioned there was eight weeks to Christmas.  If you are like so very many of us you have just burned up four of those weeks with little to no progress toward your holiday preparations.  The best date for mailing any overseas packages has been and gone.  Black Friday has whipped by us with all its great deals in a holiday coloured blur.  The warmest weather for putting up outdoor decorations is a memory.   As we speak, shoppers are out there stocking up on their baking supplies.  When you go for yours, there will be nothing left.   Four weeks dearies....that's what you have left.  Twenty seven days to Christmas Eve.  Yes, I am a Christmas fanatic.  Yes, I will continue to give you a count down.   Yes, I know at this very moment you probably hate me.  It's okay.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Using Wednesdays Words

The words provided for today were; complicated, rodent, humour, theology, natural and sarcastic.

My tin foil thinking cap has been reshaped and highly polished goes.

In nature one doesn't often come across a complicated theology student of the rodent persuasion but Rodney, the sarcastic rat, had always been the exception rather than the rule.  The universe had quite the sense of humour the day Rodney was born.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Monday morning we took our daughter for her monthly shopping expedition to Costco.  Apparently overnight Mother Nature decided that her brief fling with pseudo summer weather was over and the temperature had dropped to -3.  The wind was howling from a northerly direction.  I watched as the leaves so neatly piled up at the curb for pickup took off down the road, stopped abruptly, changed direction and then repeated the performance.  Okay, maybe the wind was coming from all four directions.  The car door gave me a little resistance as it appeared to be semi frozen shut.  All in all, not  a great day to be crossing the vast waste land of Costco parking lot but hey, a gals gotta do what a gals gotta do.  I stuck my Costco card and my bank card in my pocket, grabbed my cane and locked the car up.  Then, ever so slowly, I released my hold on the car and tested my stability.  Now, I gotta say, I'm no lightweight.  Really.  There's enough of me that I should be able to hold my ground in a fairly high wind.  You have to know that was some wind if it could take me like a para sailor and whip me across the parking lot at high speed.  We latched on to each other, put our heads down and bull dozed our way to the store.  No all we had to do was get our purchases back to the car across that endless parking lot and get it all stowed away in the trunk without being blown home without the car.  When we finally got home the hubs said, "I'm not leaving the house for the rest of day."  Me neither, and, if tomorrow is like this I'm not going out.

Monday, 21 November 2016

The Latest

Every Christmas has the latest and greatest toy craze.  I remember the year it was Cabbage Patch dolls.  It was the only item on our daughters wish list.  When I saw them in the stores I was all set to pick one up and put it away for Christmas but the hubs....he of the procrastination gene...said "no need to get it now and have it laying around in the road for weeks.  There will lots just before Christmas."  Yeah..right!   By Christmas there wasn't one to be found in the city.  His mother stood in a line up for hours and finally snagged one where she lived.
One year the Furbie was the latest and greatest.  Cute little guys that slept and woke and talked and generally drove you batty.  It was a big hit for about a week and then the batteries were pulled and it was tossed in a storage bin.  Even the kids couldn't stand it.
This year the big draw is something called a Hatchimal.  Imagine my surprise to find it is nothing but a Furbie on steroids.  It comes in an egg that, with a little encouragement from your body heat, hatches into a Hartchimal.  You can then teach your Hatchimal to walk and talk and sing.  Like I said, a Furbie on steroids.  Two weeks after Christmas I can guarantee you'll be pulling the batteries out and crying 'uncle'.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

A Great Day

Yesterday was ONE of our TWO favourite days of the Christmas Season.  It was the day we take our Grandson (aka The Wee Man) out for his Christmas shopping.  His carefully hoarded allowance was counted and recounted and amounts allocated for spending on The Mama, The Other and The Sister.  Grandma and Grandpa provided the accoutrement's for wrapping; paper, tissue, ribbons, bows, tags and the all important tape.
We hit Canadian Tire for two of the items on his list and Wally Mart for the third.  It was 5 degrees and pouring down rain when we started out.  Amazingly we found parking spaces close to the stores so only a slight drenching was achieved.  I believe this is the first year that we haven't spent three quarters of our time looking at things HE would like to have (hint hint).
By the time we hit Williams for lunch it was 2 degrees and the rain seemed to be getting a little 'thicker' if you know what I mean.  The hubs and I had coffee and sesame tuna wraps, the wee man muscled up to the counter and requested a blt sandwich hold the lt add extra bacon and mayo on white bread not toasted.   The girl at the cash register had a jaw drop moment and then began sorting through his extremely explicit order.  He informed her that he wouldn't eat it if it wasn't right.  (He wouldn't, either, trust me).  Fortunately, she got it right.
When we left Williams it was one degree and what was coming down could no longer be referred to as rain whether thick or thin.  We eased our way over to our place for the next stage in the day which was the gift wrapping.  The wee man is getting much better at gift wrapping.  When we started this tradition he was just six and his idea of wrapping was to crumple paper around the item and then wrap tape around and around it.  Effective, but not pretty.  Over the last few years he has gradually, with a little assistance, improved his technique.  I was quite impressed.  He still likes a lot of tape though.
When all was completed and the gifts stored under the tree (Yes, the tree is up...don't judge me. ) the wee man had some time to dig out his Lego from the cupboard beside the couch and painstakingly put together all the pieces.  He then requested a photo shoot.
This year we have the second favourite day of the Christmas season as we introduce the grand daughter to thinking about others on Christmas and not just herself.  She is six.  She will start getting an allowance next year and will learn about saving some for the bank and some for Christmas and making those all important decisions about what to do with the remainder.  Exciting stuff.  This year, as we did for the wee man on his first trip, grandma and grandpa will absorb the shopping expense.  Naturally it will be a small budget.  I've been advised that she too likes a lot of tape.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Main Street Christmas

Things have certainly changed over the years.
We were (the hubs and I) reminiscing over lunch yesterday about Christmas gift shopping when we were kids.  We're talking main street Ontario here folks, no malls and no plazas back then.  Our Moms would take us downtown one evening about two weeks before Christmas to do our special gift shopping for Dads, siblings and grandparents.  We had a budget and we had a list.  Downtown, the stores would all be lit up and the sidewalks (usually snowy sidewalks with big fat flakes falling) would be crowded with people we knew, all out, doing their Christmas shopping.  As kids, we were impatient to get going and get those gifts and our Moms were all about the greeting of friends and long discussions while juvenile feet froze to the cement (or so it seemed to us).  The jewellery store would have a beautiful, seasonal clockwork display in the window and we would stand and admire it for several long minutes...sometimes more than once..  We didn't go in to the jewellery store because we didn't have that kind of cash.  The Christmas tree in the front window of the bank would be lit up (the bank however would have been closed at 3:00pm on a work day, don't even think about the weekends.  The butcher shop would be open and sometimes we would pop in if Mom needed something.  There was sawdust on the floor and sometimes the door to the big locker was open and you could catch a glimpse of half a hog hanging on a hook.   Mom might order her Christmas turkey if she hadn't already done so.
Our goal was the five and dime.  In Newmarket, if memory serves,  that was Woolworths.  It was a lovely old store with wide plank floors that gave underfoot and big tables in rows upon which wares were spread.  A few shelves on the walls (wood) and an older lady presiding over the cash register.  A quick check with the hubs revealed that we bought just about the same stuff for gifts....socks or cigars or hankies for the men (or perhaps pipe tobacco), hand lotion or bath cubes or nylons for the ladies.  It was so much fun to choose colours and fragrances, to hand over the cash ourselves and be given the change.  In our innocence we firmly believed that Mom had not noticed that bottle of hand lotion for her.  Jergens.  Remember Jergens?  The little pink bottle with the black cap?  When you were old enough to be given a bottle yourself you felt so grown up.
Even if you didn't need to go in to all the stores, you still promenaded up and down both sides of the street, looking in windows and following your Mom in while she did a little shopping herself.  The level of excitement was such that you positively ached with it.  Everything looked so much shinier, everything smelled so much better, everyone seemed so much friendlier.  You could smell Christmas.  In the darkness with the shop lights shining you could feel the mystery of Christmas.  The Salvation Army had two or three folks standing by a pail for donations and they were playing Christmas music.  It never sounded so good as it did outside on those frosty nights when you could see your breath.
Shopping for Christmas gifts was special in those days.   While I appreciate the warmth of the mall in my advancing age, I do sometimes yearn for that special night of shopping on main street Ontario.  I miss the simplicity of the gifts and the honest appreciation of the recipients.  I miss the innocence.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Using Wednesdays Words (the unofficial version)

Wednesdays Words were:  adage, dominate, vestige, brokerage, vessel and insight....and/or....swing, brag, burst, bland, hoard and stem.  Of course these are not the official words....just mine as I tend to be somewhat impatient.
Here goes:

Nick put on a burst of speed and made a wide swing past the mail box.  He grinned.  "That should stem any more rumours that I'm getting too old for this job.  I don't like to brag Rudy but I think I'm as good, if not better than I ever was."
Rudy turned a bland eye toward him and snorted.
"Isn't that Holly waiting for us outside the shop?" Nick muttered.  "Just great, she'll be after me again to make changes.  Personally, I believe in the old adage, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'."
"Dad--Dad--over here!! "  Holly waived her arms and jumped up and down.  "You know, Dad, if you didn't insist on keeping this hoard of projects just inside the door of the shop you'd have room to pull right in.  So much easier to load and unload inside where it's warm."
"It's only once a year that I load and unload." Nick said.  "It's not really a problem."
"Dad, I've got such good ideas.  I wish you had just the vestige of some  insight to listen to them."
"All right daughter.  I know you want me to look into a new brokerage firm.  If I do that, will you give up on trying to talk me into a new vessel for shipments  You know I'm fond of the old crate I've been driving for the last, oh, how many years now sweetie? "
"At least 200 years Dad, at the very least.  Really, it is time to upgrade.  You could dominate the skies in a newer model.  Think jet powered.  Think sat nav.  Think heater for heavens sake. "
"My dear,  Rudy and his friends would be broken hearted if I went jet propelled.  I'll tell you what...I'll have the sat nav installed.  Would that satisfy you?"
Holly laughed.  "It's a start Dad, it's a start."