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Posts Tagged ‘traditions’

In the mirror of your eyes…….

My rugged African pot stood sheepishly at the foot of my driveway all decked out with its hessian bow. It had to endure the humiliation along with the many other corners of my house. There is much to celebrate….the Winter Solstice heralds the fact that our days will slowly become longer and our nights shorter. Then we have my favourite time of the year. Need I say, it is Christmas.  The wonder and joy of the season here in the northern hemisphere is magical.

A delicate twist to my African roots!

I can see it all so clearly…..

The steep pathway down to the house is lit up with fairy lights. They have a double function; both to illuminate the slippery staircase and to add a flickering twinkle to the arduous task of getting up and down to the house. Although when your arms are piled high with copious bags of groceries and replenishment stocks to the bar fridge, the lights are the last thing on your mind. But it is so worth the effort!

Like an image passing by……

The twins made a quick pre-Christmas visit to drop Leo off for a few weeks while their parents had a well-deserved family holiday. Leo is the much loved golden retriever. While the dogs got reacquainted, the twins helped decorate the Christmas tree.  There is much to be said for having your family traditions and I sat back and lapped up the scene. Deliberation reigned as the two placed the carefully chosen ornaments on the branches. There was much teetering on the chairs and discussion. Both of them are fiercely independent and I had to restrain myself from intervening in their creative activity. I watched and listened as the two repeated history.

Katy added her magical touch…

Christmas finally arrived and we all gathered together to celebrate. Stuffed turkey, glazed ham and red cabbage cooked in apple juice and topped with cranberries was on the menu. Dessert was a homemade salted caramel ice cream topped with meringues. These were made from scratch too. Thank goodness Christmas only comes once a year!

Christmas traditions with Jack …..tartan and pajamas.

Like reflections of your mind……

Besides all the preparation that goes along with Christmas, it is a time of remembrance and soul searching for me. I was continually reminded how my mom managed a house full at Christmas with such grace. There was always delicious food and all were welcome at our table. I missed them both and found myself reflecting back now that I am ‘the nanny’ and all the kids descend on our house at Christmas. There is much music, laughter and plenty of food.

So now we will go our separate ways…..

So another New Year is about to begin. We all need to go out and carry on with our lives. I will bathe in the love that I feel. This was brought home to me when my granddaughter said goodbye at the car. I was securing her seat belt and she tilted her little head forward and said: “Nanny I will dream about you.”

Best wishes for 2019 go to all of you and may you always have something to look forward to.

Christmas Cousins

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http://www.myspace.com/xseptemberleavesx/music/songs/maple-tree-73735223

 

You can always count on me and I will plant you a maple tree…….

We planted a maple tree today in honour of Canada Day…… all 4 metres of it. It is thin and scrawny but the bright green leaves indicate that it is a healthy specimen. It stood in our ravine at the bottom of our garden and was cosseted by the many elms and grander maples that surrounded it. But in this position, it fought for light and sustenance as the bigger brothers took preference.

I will carry you on my wings……

The birds protested as we gently carved it out with a big ball of soil attached to its roots. I think they thought that some larger disturbance was afoot. It made the journey up to the front garden perched in our wheel barrow. It looked rather ungainly as we trundled up the side rocky pathway and the leaves shook in protest as the gentle wind blew around us. Its new abode awaited it in the front garden.

I will build you a house of stars and give you safety while you sleep…..

It was to be the only shade tree on the front lawn, a bastion to welcome us home at the end of a long day. It had a position of importance with no competition for sustenance. The hole which will nourish it for years to come had been filled with all ‘the good things for trees’ like bone marrow and rich garden soil.

The most beautiful place in my heart belongs to you……

This tree carries hope for us as a family here in our new country. Like this tree, we have been pulled out of the ground and replanted. Thankfully, we have carried with us ‘our soil’ i.e. the customs, memories and traditions. We have carved out a new environment and the food to sustain us comes from the support that we have received. The faithful friends and family back in South Africa who keep in touch and from the Canadians that have shown us kindness.

You can climb up on the peak……….

A maple tree is meant to grow to 18 metres, we have a long journey ahead of us, but it is sure to be an exciting one!

Our young maple tree.

 

 

 

 

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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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