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Posts Tagged ‘Reindeer’

 

 

The turkey has enough butter stuffed under the skin to make Nigella blush and the gluwein is simmering away on the stove. Our tree sparkles from the front room……

The trees lay stacked up on the side of the road bursting with the promise of Christmas. The Douglas Fir, White Pine, Scottish Pine and the Blue Spruce….the choice was endless. Which one would it be this year? We had driven along Highway 8 through the greenbelt along the escarpment. The vegetables stalls had given way to the sale of Christmas trees, no more pumpkins and asparagus but rows of fuzzy green. Much thought and effort goes into the right choice of Christmas tree here in Canada. Families deliberate over how tall it has to be, the shape and whether it will shed its leaves. We stop the car at a nearby diner to grab a coffee and notice a little boy as he gazes up at the tall frame of the chosen tree.
“Dad, this is the one!”

The excitement and wonder beams from his face. The practical dad contemplates how he will tie it onto the roof of the car. He paces out the length and works on his plan. Mother has a faraway look on her face as she recalls the Christmases past and is envisaging this tree with the family decorations. There were heirlooms that are brought out each year and a few new additions to add to the sparkle. My coffee steams as I make my way through the brisk air. I pull my hood over my head and feel the fur trim snug against my face. My thoughts go back to 3 young boys that gathered around our tree back in South Africa. It will be the turn of our grand children soon!

Our Christmas Tree

Our Christmas Tree

The bare deciduous trees that shook off their leaves in the fall are tinged with snow. The evergreens cling onto the soft white powder like a cake does to frosting. The sun slips down behind the hills early as we wend our way back home. The snow illuminates our path and the houses twinkle with Christmas lights. Bright white lines the roofs, iridescent blue around the doorways and soft red sparkle in the shrubs. Fresh garlands accentuate   the wooden slatted porch and rustic White Birch reindeer guard the front door.

It is Yuletide in Canada and a time to make memories with family and friends. There will be a special place near our tree this year for those who are no longer with us. They will be  greatly missed.

I wish you all a joyous Christmas!

A white Christmas.....?

A white Christmas…..?

 

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I turn 60 today! A milestone in anyone’s book and it comes with feelings of trepidation. Somehow the dreaded SIX has just come around too fast and I don’t feel quite ready for it. It is not the usual fears of the body starting to issue screams of protest when I attack yet a new outdoor hobby or the laughter lines that just seem to grow. It is the dread that I suppose I will now have to grow up!

When does one refrain from wearing your much loved blue jeans? Is there some special code of dress that I have to adhere to at this stage?  Maybe a twin set and pearls is more fitting. But the Woodstock Era with its flower power accessories still run deep in my veins. Can I still don my purple tights with white spots or better still the Christmas ones covered in reindeer?

Out paddling on Lake Ontario.

Out paddling on Lake Ontario.

 

Can I still jump up and dance when I hear a favourite song on the radio? (I know this childish act is usually a source of embarrassment to my family.)Is there still room for a good sulk? Will I be allowed to play pot-hockey in the kitchen when I find the house chores tedious?

I stumble into the bathroom and turn on the light. It is one of those awfully bright ones that does not lie. Yes, the face is gently showing the signs of the time and the grey hair is competing like a champion. It is inevitable and I accept it all gracefully……. not too gracefully as I shall continue to ‘put on the face’ each morning. Fortunately my sensitive eyes don’t allow me to use much ‘toorgoedjies’ which is probably a blessing in disguise. I prefer my morning ritual to be as fast as possible so that I can begin my day. So no pink blushing cheeks or purple eye shadow……..a sweep of cover stick and a dash of lipstick will have to suffice. The time has come for ‘less is more.’

'Twinset and pearls' but without the 'toergoed.'

‘Twinset and pearls’ but without the ‘toorgoedjies.’

It is liberating when you don’t concern yourself too much with what others think or say and you can merely be comfortable in your own skin. I have definitely been there and have the t-shirt and I wear my badges with honour. But having said this, I do not intend to just sit and watch my garden grow. Complacency is not something that I visit too often. I wish I did, as it would certainly do wonders for the old blood pressure spike! There is just too much out there to tempt me…….. a whole world still left to explore, books to read, music to listen to and people to meet.  It is good to be alive and hope that I don’t grow up any time soon.

 

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

 

......with a little help from my friends!

……with a little help from my friends!

 

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The wind whistles through my open coat and I pull the buttons closed and toss the hood over my head. I now know why they have fur trim around the edge! I thought it was for a touch of glamour! But I was soon to find out that this thin strip of fur, keeps the wind off my face. I nestle down into my warm coat and contemplate the risk of a ‘Greenie’ tossing paint at me. Be that as it may, there is a feeling of goodwill all around us here in Oakville. It is the lead up to Christmas.

 

Josh tolerates the bow....just.

Josh tolerates the bow…..just!

Everyone has come out to play! Dogs are dressed up in their Christmas coats. They appear to know the drill for the season and enjoy the added attention that their regalia gives them. Shop windows glitter with displays. Their doors are decorated with bastions of fresh pine and cedar. There are overhead baskets that hang from lamp posts. They are filled with winter greenery and tinged with a sprinkle of snow. The town Christmas tree towers above us in the Town Square. It is dripping with huge shiny trinkets and metres of glistening ribbon. The aroma of festive spices wafts through the bakery door. Everything says Christmas!

Bokkie in all his splendour!

Bokkie in all his splendour.

 

Christmas feeling has hit the Morkel household too. The tree is up and the banisters are bound with lights and garlands. The Morkel men clambered up onto our roof and fitted the Christmas lights. It was a daring affair in almost freezing temperatures. They donned their safety harnesses and tossed the rope down from the cleats that have been fitted on top of the high roof. This is for any future escapades or further requests from ‘the lady of the house.’ There were also repairs that had to be carried out. ‘Bokkie’ had his lights punched out in a storm. On that fateful night he got tossed over by a strong north wind. Unfortunately he had to endure his headless state until he was packed away. But I am pleased to say that he has made a comeback and is the proud owner of a flashing head! He stands proudly near the front door and heralds us in with his pulsing horns. I just wish I could some how put the rhythm to music! Maybe next year……..

So I raise my glass of red and salute you, my dear family and friends. Thank you for always reading my ramblings and for keeping in touch. I wish you a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Cheers!

The roof mountaineers....

The roof mountaineers….

 

Christmas shopping

Christmas shopping

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Christmas is all about spending time with family and friends and with all our traditions we create those warm memories. The spruce tree has been adorned with ribbons and baubles and lights twinkle from the balcony, front door and the roof. The bokkie (reindeer) stands amongst his forest of lights at the front door and there is no mistaking that this house is definitely going to be celebrating Christmas. There is excitement in the air as plans are made, presents are wrapped and the Christmas spices float through the air.

Josh whines at the front door and I realize that it is time for his daily trot around the block and the evening ritual of chasing squirrels.

The bulldozer growled and squealed as it pushed its way through the rubble. This was someone’s house that was being knocked down and it was making way for progress with a modern one that would soon be built in its place. The planks of wood protested and creaked as they were shoved into the awaiting truck, there was nothing graceful about this old house meeting its demise. The demolition was now complete and this once quant, cottage home was now piled up on the back of a truck. I wondered how many happy memories had been made there, how many family Christmases had been spent around the dining room table and how many bright -eyed grandchildren had been entertained with stories in front of the fire. Sadly these were all but memories now and hopefully there were people who would hold them dear. Josh tugged at my arm as he was growing impatient and as I watched the truck trundle down the road, I thought of the one consolation: This wooden house would once more return to the earth on some landfill and new trees would grow from the nutrients left behind and new houses would be built and new memories made.

As the first few snow flakes fall, our family will gather at Maison de Morkel and new memories of our first Canadian Christmas with its rich eclectic blend of traditions will be created. But underneath it all, will be the solid foundation of experiences of Christmases in Africa.

Bokkie

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