Thursday, December 25, 2014

Joy Comes Christmas Morning

I recently posted this story to a writers blog to which I contribute.  And just in case any of my relatives become confused and wonder when this happened ... it didn't.  This is just a story.  
Merry Christmas!

We had the Christmas tree in the kitchen that year, next to the church bench on the long wall by the phone.  Seemed strange to my brothers and me to come down the creaking stairs Christmas morning into the bleak, echoing living room where the very atmosphere was hard and gaping.  Hardwood floors, bare plastered walls, sharp corners, and high vaulted ceiling.  Everything was unfamiliar after the summer fire that had taken that side of the house.  Not even a whisper of past joy-filled Christmases remained.

But then we entered the kitchen where the coloured lights twinkled on the tree, and splayed into sprays, like fireworks, when we squinted our eyes at them.  Mom already had Christmas breakfast baking in the oven, filling our beings with warmth and promises.

We sat down by the tree, Christmas oranges in hand, to listen to Dad read the Christmas story.  But none of us could take our eyes off of the lone gift under, or rather, beside the tree.  It was huge, oddly shaped, wrapped in a combination of newspaper and three different kinds of wrapping paper.  My brothers and I exchanged wide-eyed wondering looks.  Was it any wonder we couldn't stay focused on the Christmas story?  No matter.  We all knew it off by heart anyway:

" ... And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not:  for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord ...'"

Finally, permission was given and my brothers and I ripped into the paper to discover the trappings and skeleton of a trampoline!

Now, any rational parent living on the prairies would never give a trampoline for a Christmas gift.  Where on earth do you put it in -30 degree weather?  Not to mention four feet of snow!  But my Dad was full of surprises.  Calculating.  Ingenious.  He never did anything without thinking it through.  When he realized that the living room would be rebuilt in time for Christmas, but that no furniture could grace it until spring, he contrived to fill it with a used trampoline for the winter.  He was like that, my Dad, always finding ways of turning hard things into joy.

So that Christmas the stark living room was filled with squeals of joy as my brothers and I took turns jumping on our best gift ever, and shouting, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!"

photo credit: <a href="">cabarney</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Oh For the Love of Disney

My husband loves my convertible.  It is my car but … he picked it out & I okayed it.  When we were looking for a car for me and he suggested I needed a convertible, I questioned what in the world I needed one of those for.  But we got the convertible.  He asks for my permission whenever he wants to drive it — which is frequently.

However, apparently I’m not the coolest convertible owner.  Yes I drive around with the top down.  But the music pealing from my CD player is not ACDC, The Rolling Stones, Queens of the Stone Age or even Beyonce.  It is Mendelssohn, Chopin, Mozart.  My music is not conducive to revving engines.  

Occasionally I throw in other fun music, like singer/songwriter type stuff or soundtracks from movies.  I recently purchased 2 complete albums of music from the 1920’s.

Picture this:  Hubby borrows my car and drives around town with the top down, enjoying the weather and the great car.  While stopped at a red light he notices pedestrians looking at him oddly.  He is used to people nodding in appreciation of a cool car.  He knows those looks.  These are different.  

Suddenly he takes note of the music blaring from the CD player (because when you drive a convertible you must blare music — it is an unwritten rule).  My husband is a big guy, a skilled businessman, and a cowboy at heart - not a wimp in the least.  But what he realizes he is proclaiming to the world in this humiliating moment is … the theme from Disney’s A Bug’s Life. 

Was a bug, little bug, hardly there
How he felt, what he dreamed, who could care?
Without any evidence
(His flaws were many)
He was full of confidence
(Some people haven't any)
Didn't have much common sense
(It's highly over-rated)
He just knew that he'd come through
It's the time of your life so live it well

Oh yes my dear, it IS the time of your life.  And while you're living it well, maybe take along some of your own CD's.

Lyrics for 'The Time of Your Life' written by Randy Newman

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


I wrote a poem yesterday.  Non-rhyming.  Straight out of my head.  In the moment.

Without editing, I immediately sent it to a friend because it was for her.

I suppose if I had taken the time - minutes, hours, days maybe, to think about it and edit - it might have sounded better.  It likely would have been a better poem, structurally speaking.  But I rather like the unedited version.  It came from what was in my heart at the moment.  It was sincere and filled with concern and love.

I love the unedited versions of life too:

* Candid photos.  I'm the person taking the behind the scenes pictures of the photographer taking the photo.  Or the scene immediately before or after "The Pose".  My favourite part of watching the Olympics, or any competition for that matter, is when we get to see the unedited reaction of the parents in the stands.

* The odd comment blurted out without thinking beforehand.  Sweetie (daughter #1) tells the story of how she was helping a blind lady with directions one day.  As she pointed the woman in the correct direction she said, "You can see the sign from here" which, of course, the blind woman could not.

To me these are REAL moments and I relish them.  Little scraps of joy in a world where so many so often put on masks before they step out their front doors for the day.

Of course there are definitely times when editing is necessary.  Still, I'm learning to step out my front door every day with the eager expectation of stumbling upon innocent unedited moments. 

And, I'm hoping my friend was encouraged by the poem I sent.  Even if it wasn't perfect.