Our Christmas traditions always got in full swing after Remembrance Day, November 11th, Canada's day of honoring our Veterans for their sacrifice. Our Uncle Herbert was one of them who gave his life so that we could have ours.
Our Dad made sure we never forgot his brother and our day would be spent quietly. There was no television or radio programs for the day and we had our minute of silence before our meal. This too, was a tradition we followed while I was growing up and I am thankful for it. I was taught respect through this.
Uncle Herbert died in a prisoner of war camp before I was born, so I only know what I have been told about him, which again proves to me the importance of logging memories for future generations.
Before first snowfall, which Dad could predict to the hour, we went looking for 'the' tree. One that had to surpass last year's model!
When we picked 'the' one, Dad tied a piece of bright cloth securely to a strong branch, just in case he forgot where it was. Years later, I figured it out.
Dad knew every tree on our land & his memory was clear as a bell. I was the one who would have been fretting that dear 'old Dad' might not remember.
I nattered until we brought out the decorations.
Once we did, Mom & I sat at the table in the evenings reading through her box of cards that she saved year to year. A few tears escaped & rolled down her cheeks as she held each one close for a moment, giving in to sentiment over an old friend or relative that had passed away.
The cards were hung like fresh laundry on the line of string Dad put up across the living room. New ones were added as delivered.
It seemed a snowfall was a prerequisite on the day we went down the trail with horse & sleigh to cut down the tree.
The fresh aroma of spruce blended with the thermos of cocoa Mom sent along with us. On return, Dad & I waited for Mom to come, give her approval and bless me to my boots by saying I HAD picked the best one yet.
The tree went into the barn for a few days to thaw. He said the animals deserved a little Christmas BLESSING too. I liked that.
By mid-December, the house was like Disney World to me. Christmas morning, Dad carried his coffee to his arm chair and said those long awaited words: "Open your presents!"
Then he waited quietly, until we came to our senses!
Anytime I stand at the window of that house on Memory Lane, I see lights bubbling on the tree, silver & gold decorations glistening, streamers and cards across doorways & walls. The fragrance of spruce, gingerbread, maple fudge, all make my taste buds tingle.
Just one more prairie Christmas. Oh what I wouldn't give. To have us altogether. Sharing BLESSINGS that we lived. ***
Excerpt from the book "101 Blessings" by Marlane Lillian Mazur.