Tag Archives: Christmas

The Christmas Star

Last year our seven-year-old grandson gave us a beautiful ornate glass star that looks like crystals in a chandelier if you focus your eyes correctly. This year I asked Chris to hang it above the tree.

Beginning with the ruler, measuring meticulously in one direction and then the other, he proceeded to find a spot in the high raked ceiling for the hook.

Fighting to penetrate the hard wood, finally the hook was in place.
Climbing down the ladder, Chris heard his father’s voice in his head say, ‘Don’t worry sport, you can move the tree!’

This is exactly what he would have said.

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Blessings:

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Looking back over the holiday period makes me very grateful for what we have and the family we share.

The Sunday before Christmas we had Christopher’s boys and their families. Will and Rachael are now foster parents. They brought their son and a foster boy with them to share our special day. At present this child is only having respite time with them as his mother is waiting for a placement in a drug rehabilitation centre. Ice is a particularly nasty drug, which is far more addictive than other drugs, and is rampant in Victoria, as it is probably everywhere else. It is hard to imagine what it is like for an only child to live in this environment.

L. appeared happy to be with us and joined in the conversation. Since joining his foster parents he’s experienced many things for the first time. Going to the beach, to the cinema and many family activities that we take for granted.

Conversation at the lunch table was interesting. L is obsessed with the army and army activities. Someone at school had convinced him that ISIS has nothing to do with terrorism. He asked each of us what we thought, but our thoughts didn’t deter him, even though he couldn’t remember the reasoning behind his friend’s comment. Rachael calmly suggested that since he couldn’t remember the reason, perhaps he needed to reconsider this information.

I thought how easily a child can be led astray. Hopefully listening to a group of adults with different views from his own, will give him pause to reconsider his way out views.

 

Daughters in law with naughty Grandpa and youngest grandchild.

Daughters in law with naughty Grandpa and youngest grandchild.

The meal was a great success, always a relief for me when it all comes together. Many of the vegetables were new to L. and so it was rewarding to see him tasting and liking them. Roast pork turned out to be a favourite.

Playing cricket in the street was fun, apart from my beloved tearing a tendon when he was trying to bowl a googly. He was surprised that his body didn’t respond as it did forty years ago. He ended up fielding with Millie by his side, who delighted in catching the balls that came their way.

We were thrilled at the end of the day when L. announced he’d never had such a wonderful Christmas, it made it all so worthwhile. It also made me sad to think of how many children there must be out there who would be not celebrating, as we were able to do. Christmas isn’t always a happy time for people, so it makes me more appreciative than ever, that we’re able to share with a family we love.

Some good news announced today, 2-1-15: Collingwood, the largest Australian Rules Football Club announced that it has donated 30 homes to the Salvation Army to house those less fortunate. This means 80 people are now benefitting from this generous gift. Collingwood Football Club propose to donate another 70 homes this year. What a wonderful, generous way to start the year. Congratulations to all of those involved.

 

 

Dear God:

Sometimes something arrives that I can not help sharing with you. This one brings the spirit of Christmas with a slight twist, and will hopefully make you smile.

There was a man who worked for the Post Office whose job was to process all the mail that had illegible addresses.

One day, a letter came addressed in a shaky handwriting to God with no actual address. He thought he should open it to see what it was about. The letter read

Dear God,

I am an 83 year old widow, living on a very small pension. Yesterday someone stole my purse. It had £100 in it, which was all the money I had until my next pension payment.

Next Sunday is Christmas, and I had invited two of my friends over for dinner. Without that money, I have nothing to buy food with, have no family to turn to, and you are my only hope…

Can you please help me?

Sincerely, Edna

The postal worker was touched. He showed the letter to all the other workers. Each one dug into his or her wallet and came up with a few pounds.

By the time he made the rounds, he had collected £96 which they put into an envelope and sent to the woman.

The rest of the day, all the workers felt a warm glow thinking of Edna and the dinner she would be able to share with her friends.

Christmas came and went.

A few days later, another letter came from the same old lady to God.

All the workers gathered around while the letter was opened.

It read:

Dear God,

How can I ever thank you enough for what you did for me?

Because of your gift of love, I was able to fix a glorious dinner for my friends. We had a very nice day and I told my friends of your wonderful gift.

By the way, there was £4 missing………..

I think it might have been those bastards at the post office!!!

Sincerely, Edna

Merry Christmas!

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Blogging has become a burden, so I am taking a break. Summer has arrived with all the jobs that need doing outside: Cleaning gutters, distributing compost, refilling compost bins, weeding, trimming and watering. Of course, there are the satisfying jobs like picking raspberries and snow peas too.

Sitting inside is an enjoyable winter activity. Writing will take a back seat as December is a time for family coming to stay, and others visiting.

I shall be back from time to time, but no longer as a daily visitor to your blogs. A bit of peace, I can hear you say. Yeh!

Shall be back to bring updates on how Chris’s painting is going. Maybe there will be some writing when I catch up with the backlog of chores to complete. I know you are all probably feeling the same pressures of the festive season.

Wrapping Santa presents and making sure all the children’s’ presents are bought and wrapped is the pleasurable part of this time of the year. Preparing the Christmas tree is another joy, especially seeing the faces of the children when they arrive. Warmest wishes to you all, especially those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, and cool good wishes to those in the Southern Hemisphere! Merry Christmas to you all!                                                                    Thank you all for your wonderful support, visits and comments, I do appreciate you all.

 

A Children’s Book: Lily’s Wish

Yesterday I received a wonderful surprise when ChristineR reviewed my Children’s book. So here is a link to Christine’s post, called, ‘A children’s book: Lily’s Wish’.  ChristineR

Thank you Christine, I am thrilled that you like it and felt moved to review itCover image from the publisher's website.

http://christinejrandall.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/a-childrens-book-lilys-wish/

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Enduring Threads: part 8

Family Christmases

Magnificent Christmas days were spent with my maternal grandparents. The gatherings began with four generations.

One year I counted twenty-eight at the dining table. The miracle was where did all the food come from? The oven wasn’t huge, but like ‘The Magic Pudding’ there was always plenty of delicious food for everyone. Roast turkey, ham, and crunchy baked vegetables with freshly shelled peas from the garden. Raspberries and strawberries also from the garden, plus plum pudding with threepences and sixpences hidden in it, with an abundance of cream and home made ice cream. Uncle John R-T always had the parson’s nose, and he always made a fuss about getting a coin in his pudding, although, on occasions he swallowed the one my grandmother strategically put into his piece.

X'mas at 6 Ronald Street

X’mas at 6 Ronald Street

 

‘Washing up time children, and remember, …( the usual refrain), the water has to be very hot! Start with the glasses and they must be left upright after drying them, until they cool, before putting them away!’ We children washed up with excited anticipation. Decorating the tree outside followed, before Uncle Henry brought out the movie camera and presents were opened. We didn’t receive presents from everyone, nor were they expected. It’s hard to think of my mother being young, but together with her sister Mary, on film, they are flaunting their new, almost strapless, flared skirted sundresses, looking very young, playing up to the camera.

 

Brenda and Mary (Mother and Aunt) Christmas in the 1950s

Brenda and Mary
(Mother and Aunt)
Christmas in the 1950s

The regular visitors who came for Christmas afternoon tea were Grandma’s brother, Hector McFie, (the politician), his second wife, Toni, and their daughter Helen. Great Uncle Hector was viewed with disapproval after Nana and Papa’s deaths due to his rapacious dealings with the will. This was something that was only spoken of in hushed tones, so the children wouldn’t hear.

 

The Wells from Latrobe would drop in, as well as the Jennings and Volprechts. The tins of sweets the Jennings family gave us each year were always appreciated. Auntie Mynie’s single friends would often be there. Voluminous forms filled the circle of fold up director’s chairs on the lawn. Uncle Percy’s permanently bent fingers didn’t stop him holding a cigarette. Henry’s films show the ‘Greats’ gradually diminishing in number, and eventually Christmas days moved to 29 Victoria Parade, where my mother presided over the cake-cutting ceremony. My grandmother was caught on film cutting the cake for three consecutive years wearing the same dress. My mother decided she wouldn’t make this mistake.

X'mas afternoon, 6 Ronald Street

X’mas afternoon,
6 Ronald Street

 

Miss Jean Nichols, a spinster neighbour took Miss Benjafield’s place, after she had died. I’m sure Jean was in love with my mother, but Brenda just pretended otherwise and allowed her to be part of the family.

 

On 2nd November 1957 Auntie Mary married Bob Gott, and later their three children, Timothy, Robert and Susan, had their own Christmas dinners at Steele Street. This meant alternating afternoon teas between Victoria Parade and Steele Street, which lessened the burden of the main meal with the growing numbers.

My father was never very excited about Christmas. One year we went along to St Columba’s Presbyterian Church; my parents with their five children sat in their usual pew, quite close to the front of the church. My father only attended annually under sufferance to please my mother. On the way out, the minister said, ‘And who are you?’                                                      My father answered, ‘Give you three guesses!’ and walked on.

Another Christmas on the way home from Ronald Street, we stopped at the Pyetts’ home. Dad and Eric went off to inspect the bees that Dad had given Eric. Dad had become allergic to their stings. That day he received five stings on the head. We rushed home, Mum driving and Dad seeing double. On arrival, Dad passed out in the passage and Mum couldn’t get a pulse. I rang Doctor Endelmanis, who came down. Mum had told me not to bother him on Christmas Day, but I thought it was more serious than that. By the time the doctor arrived, Dad had vomited, so we knew he was alive. Doctor Endelmanis asked me to make really strong coffee. We didn’t have proper coffee in those days; so I made a brew with lots of powdered coffee. Doctor Endelmanis stayed for two hours to see that Dad would survive. How we appreciated him giving up so much of his time on Christmas day.