Yesterday, the local writers’ group I belong to held their annual Christmas tea, hosted by one of the members in her lovely home on the river.
Every month, as a group, we write something to the same prompt, which has to be exactly 250 words in length. The theme for Sunday was about Christmas – one particular one that stood out or just memories. I went with the memories and this is the piece I wrote (dedicated to my grandmother and my father).
MEMORIES OF CHRISTMASES PAST
For Minnie (1892-1971) and my Dad (1913-1969)
As a child, spending time at my Grandmother Minnie’s farmhouse east of Athens was something I always looked forward to. Christmas Day was even more special because all the aunts, uncles and cousins were there, too. No matter how horrendous the weather or long the journey, everyone always made it. Without fail, the Petawawa faction was always last to arrive, leaving the rest of us chomping at the bit so that Christmas could begin!
You have to picture the scene – nine kids, six parents, Minnie and my Uncle Winston cheek and jowl in the two rooms downstairs and without benefit of indoor plumbing until 1970. Dishes were washed and rinsed in two large galvanized washtubs that were hauled up onto the table and filled with hot water from the kettle on the woodstove and cold from the buckets on the counter brought over from the well on the other side of the road. And if you had to go, it was either make the long trek to the outhouse or use the thunder-mug upstairs in Minnie’s room or the one on the stairs.
My love of reading began during those Christmases at Minnie’s. My cousin from Toronto gave me a book every year from the time I turned ten.
1970 was the last year for family Christmas at Minnie’s and the first with indoor plumbing. It doesn’t sound like a big deal but to us it was. With how commercial the holidays have become, I long for those simpler times.
I still have most of those books (I think I only ever parted with one – a book of fairy tales).
What are some of your favourite Christmas memories?