Christmas 2012

Once again, sneaking up on us in the shadows of darkness, taking advantage of the shorter growing days of December, is the one and only day that is traditionally known as Christmas, the birthday of Christ.

It is hard to believe that it is now the down slope of six long years, though seeming like yesterday, since my Little Lady left this world, joining our two predeceased sons (Ross 13-09-85 and Glen 20-03-88) to walk hand in hand and chat with the angels. Christmas was a time of year that she dearly loved.

It was she, and she alone, who made everyone happy at our home. She decked out our table with food that was not comparable. The whole house was permeated with the spicy smells of home-cooked food, including large plates of fudge, both chocolate and caramel. Everything was made in our kitchen in quantities unbelievable. When the oven was turned on to bake a pie, whether it be raisin, apple, raspberry or pumpkin, five more were shelved along with it. She would not waste the heat in the oven.

She was a practising conservationist. A roast, whether pork, beef, turkey or chicken, sputtering in its special hump-backed pan, would be oven mitted gently aside and a home-kneaded lengthy loaf of bread tucked in beside.

If cookies were twin-trayed on the upper top shelf, a large pan of puffing-up muffins joined them on the bottom. When the cooking was done, the damp tea towels, along with her flowered signature apron, which she was never without, having been rinsed, were dried on the open oven door.

“Waste not, want not” was the motto she lived by. No one left the table wanting, nor did anyone leave with food left on their plate. It was a simple rule that her Great Depression upbringing abided.

It would be wrong of me to expect Christmas to be the same, for I know it just ain’t going to happen, but she left me with a lifetime of memories, and to this day I still feel on occasion the touch of her hands, as they often were placed as she read over my shoulder while I wrote in years now long gone asunder. And it is difficult to not turn in slight recognition, knowing, in body, she will not be there. Yet the clock of time keeps ticking, ticking, ticking.

Christmas comes and Christmas goes, and this year, because she forever stalks close at hand as a guardian angel, let she, my Little Lady and I, together, wish you and yours a happy time, and may the Christmas season be celebrated by each and all in the tradition you feel most comfortable. May snow cover the ground with large, fluffy flakes while Jack Frost’s paintings adorn your windows. May 2013 bring you health and happiness, a hug or two, certainly some giggles and, what the heck, some outright down-to-earth laughter as well.

This year, as last, I want to once again wish a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to two special faithful readers of mine, who, way back, beyond 28 years, not far from article one, boosted my morale by sending me my very first fan mail letter: Gladys of Cambridge and sister Isabel of Acton – the older of which is approaching fast a birthday that in three months will number just two short of 100. Her sister is following close on her heels.

 Perhaps I should let them know that my personal goal is set at 105, and I wish very much that they both stick around to see that I do. If I don’t, I give each my personal permission to give my casket a hard and firm kick. It also goes without saying that I send each my love, so, dear ladies, consider yourselves both hugged and hugged again. If you stare a full minute at my pic’ I’ll wink at you. Oh! Sorry, I guess I winked when you blinked.

Take care, `cause we care.



Barrie Hopkins