This is an unusual Christmas post, but then again this is Christmas in a year like no other. This season is a time that’s meant to bring joy, and this year we have to be especially creative in finding ways to do so while keeping everyone safe. I wish everyone a happy holiday; this COVID world is at least offering us the time to look for joy in the small things, if we only choose to take it. Let’s take advantage of that.
I think this blog post from fellow blogger Kavitha at Sunshiny SA Site is important to reblog in its entirety. It is a strong reminder of why the restrictions in place in so many of our regions are there for a reason. The story it shares has been replicated far too many times: in Canada, South Africa, the United States, the UK, EU countries, and everywhere around…
Dwayne reached the top of the viewpoint, and found the bench. He didn’t need to wake up as early this time of year to catch the sunrise.
At first the sky only lightened gradually, and so did his mood as he sipped his coffee from the thermal mug his Ruth had given him. She was always with him he mused, as the sky changed from a mere glow to reflections of pink.
The clouds seemed to hang lower in the morning and travelled slowly either up or down the valley, he knew that they were called “stratus” clouds. The clouds slipped along like long white train cars.
He sipped his coffee with the hazelnut creamer and enjoyed the cool breeze on his face. He was starting the day, and felt her absence and yet strangely peaceful.
It was only a few days until Ruth’s birthday, Christmas Eve, and although he had decorated their home, it wasn’t decorated the same as it was when Ruth had done it every year. Out of love for her family, Ruth bustled around before Christmas baking and decorating. It seemed to him that she took one whole day it seemed just to decorate the Christmas tree, but it showed.
Dwayne and Ruth had had their decades together, they had their inside jokes, and shared looks and contentment together. Now he was alone but he still felt her alongside and even watching him sometimes.
Ruth – her name means “mate, companion, friend” ♥
Dwayne had stood yesterday outside Ruth’s favorite chocolate shop. He stood gazing so long at a chocolate X’s and O’s boxed treat, the storekeeper had come and checked on him. He had smiled and assured her that he was fine and was merely admiring the dark and milk chocolates.
The boxed treat was a reminder of Ruth. On her birthday he had always woke her with a kiss and her favorite chocolate, which was almost any chocolate, he smiled to himself. The gifts were forgotten now, but her reaction was always the same when he asked her what she wanted for her birthday.
Every year her answer was “more X’s and more 0’s” which were symbols for more kisses and hugs. He would laugh, and give her one of each immediately.
Dwayne finished his coffee, looked at the sky and before he headed down the hill he looked at the sky, one cloud looked like a big X. He touched his chest, his eyes were moist – see you tomorrow morning my love. XXX OOO
There’s magic in the air this evening Magic in the air The world is at her best, you know When people love and care The promise of excitement is one the night will keep After all, there’s only one more sleep ’til Christmas
Here is a memorable Christmas movie quote from a memorable 1965 special that never grows old in my opinion – You will probably guess it 🙂
Charlie Brown: I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.
Lucy Van Pelt: I know how you feel about all this Christmas business, getting depressed and all that. It happens to me every year. I never get what I really want. I always get a lot of stupid toys or a bicycle or clothes or something like that.
Here where I live in Penticton, the public library and the museum are located in the same building. When I entered the building this week I saw and copied information posted by the museum.
What you read today is a true account of a Penticton Christmas in 1905. The story was printed up in the newspaper from museum archives.
It caught my eye because the city was just a baby then; people couldn’t have Christmas trees because most of them were living in tents.
The city site had been sold to the city by the cattle baron, Tom Ellis, whose cattle domain extended all the way to the American border. The information is from a newspaper article in 1958 (pictured also).
I hope you enjoy reading about Christmas in 1905 in what was then almost all a tent community.
The hearts of parents in making magical memories of Christmas seems to be timeless – ♥
It was a lovely November day, and I left the tent looking forward to my walk and to the visit I hoped to make later on.
Calling in at Schubert’s store to pick up the mail, I found Mrs. J.R. Mitchell and Mrs. Curtis, and as they had also been invited to tea with Mrs. Mather in the old Penticton Hotel, we walk-up together. We found Mrs. Latimer and Mrs. Coldwell there before us and we spent a most enjoyable afternoon talking about the homes and friends we had left, and how we were getting on in this new, and to us, barren land with its sagebrush, rattlesnakes and cattle, and no way out save by steamer.
LIVING IN TENTS
Then someone mentioned Christmas, only six weeks away. As all save one of us lived in tents, a tree was out of the question. Many suggestions were made and we parted promising to think things over and see if we had any ideas that could be used.
We agreed to meet the following Monday afternoon. This we did and Mrs. Mather said C.A.C. Stewart was more than willing to let us have the newly finished Travelers’ Sample room, which had been added to the south east corner of the hotel.
We also found that many signified their willingness to give money. We went ahead. One of the firefighters said he would bring us a tree, and they all gave money. No one gave less than $5.00 and some $10.00 and two gave $15.00.
80 CHILDREN IN ALL
We found that altogether there were 80 children in town, so we invited everyone to come on a set date, and many who couldn’t come gave us money. We bought all the toys Kidsen and Taylor had in their store and I sent out an order for toys to Spencer’s in Vancouver.
The tree looked lovely. We all had a few Christmas things to trim the tree with us, and with the peppermint candy canes. Lit candles and lovely star on top, our tree left little to be desired.
Mr. Brett, who opened a small tobacco, magazine and ice cream store on Front St., was our Santa Claus.
We had so much money, we had three toys for each child. My three-year-old got a spinning top, a trumpet and a wheelbarrow large enough for him to wheel his cocker spaniel and his kitty in. There were nuts, candles and oranges galore, with enough left over for the adults to have for themselves.
We sung Christmas Carols before the arrival of Santa Claus, who arrived with much stamping of feet and ringing of bells, and once again we watched the stars shine in the eyes of the youngsters as the mystery and wonder of Christmas took hold of them.
Then as the little ones grew sleepy we took them home and some of the “older children” took over and danced til the “wee small hours”.
Thus ended the first Christmas Eve after the S.O.L. Co.(South Okanagan Land Company) took over the district from Mr. Ellis.
Background: Thomas Ellis was the first European settler in the area known today as Penticton, British Columbia. He was the biggest cattle baron in the South Okanagan area. In the early half of the 1890s he entered into an agreement with the Penticton Townsite Company and he sold his land which became part of the City of Penticton.
If you want to learn more about this little city, where it is, and what the name means – click here.
Merry Christmas – and thank you for your interest in my blog. Best wishes to you! – David
After another freezing night, sleeping outdoors in a trench and wishing they were anywhere but where they were, the German soldiers stood up, and were instantly vulnerable to being shot in the winter’s dawn light.
Unarmed, and without the assurance of an official cease-fire the German men took brave steps towards the enemy’s trenches and they did so unarmed.
Calling out “Merry Christmas” in the enemy’s native language the Germans initiated the interlude of peace between warring nations on Christmas Eve 1914.
I am sure the Allied soldiers were worried it was a trick for an ambush but with hope and probably amazement they climbed out of their trenches and met the Germans in “no-man’s land” which was the space between the opposing trenches.
How strange, how amazing to have been a spectator that day. Dirty men from opposing sides in uniform singing carols, sharing food and even a good-natured soccer game.
For a moment of time the mortal enemies put down their guns because of Christmas. It was also an opportunity to retrieve their dead comrades whose bodies were in the no-man’s land and to be able so without fear of joining them in dying.
The war was relatively young, only five months into the outbreak so perhaps that helped, but this little miracle was never repeated again in World War 1 or in World War 2.
For a brief time the light of the Christmas spirit pushed away the darkness of war, and it is amazing for me to imagine.
Both sides were unarmed and risking their lives and what an amazing celebration, and inspiration for the world. Read more by clicking here.
Afterwards people mingled and had some food, and the potato latkes were delicious. I digress from the lesson, but they were really yummy.
As an illustration as he spoke the rabbi briefly talked about fire and water. He confirmed with a firefighter present that the bigger the fire, the more water needed to extinguish a fire.
However, not so with darkness. Darkness needs only a candle to beat back darkness, more darkness does not vanquish a candle. The rabbi used this metaphor for darkness in the world and people’s lives. He encouraged us to light our own candles and keep them lit. He said light a candle for…
Milwaukee, Wisconsin – October 14, 1912. Theodore Roosevelt was no longer President of the United States, however he was still an imposing figure, often described as a Bull Moose.
That cool Monday he wore his thick Army overcoat, steel rim glasses and strode purposely to the lectern.
In his pocket was his 50 page speech still rolled over, but now it had bullet holes in it. Soon he revealed his shirt to the shocked audience, blood covering the right side of the chest.
Just minutes before, a would-be assassin had pointed a .32 calibre Colt revolver at Theodore’s chest and fired. At only five feet away the assassin probably felt success was assured, Theodore Roosevelt was shot by the bullet on the right side of his chest. Wounded but surprisingly alive!
Theodore’s stenographer seized the man, placed him in a half nelson and grabbed his right wrist to prevent a second attempt.
Theodore (Ted) seemed the coolest one of all, and told the mob not to hurt the almost killer and to instead turn him over to the police.
Hustled away to a private spot, Ted checked his own injury. He was a far sight from the sickly child he once was. Ted, known as Bull Moose, now had a barrel chest and thick muscles around his neck and back even though it had been years since his calvary days and cattle ranching in North Dakota.
Colonel Theodore Roosevelt knew immediately his injuries were not serious because of his hunting knowledge. Taking off his dense overcoat he could feel the dime sized bullet hole in his chest. Inside his coat, slowing the bullet had been the folded pages of his 50 page speech and his steel-reinforced eyeglass case.
Ted went ahead and gave his speech that day, over ruling the organizers who wanted him to go immediately to the hospital. The aspiring assassin’s bullet remained lodged him for the rest of his days, a memento of the day he carried with him, a day unlike any other in his life.
I am positive none of the people present forgot his speech that day either, as he spoke for 50 minutes and his bloody shirt, the bullet torn pages were all inscribed forever in the memories of those there towitness them.
My interest in Theodore Roosevelt arose from his speech entitled “Citizenship in a Republic” speech which he gave in Paris, France on April 23, 1910. However, mostly I think of it as “The Man In the Arena” speech, it’s amazing !
Part of that speech is often memorized and quoted, and I shared it once in a speech contest. I think resonates timelessly encouraging me to “dare greatly“
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Lastly I will share a few photographs from the western shore of Skaha Lake where I walked a few days ago. It was a beautiful sunny day, despite the low temperature and it felt wonderful to be outdoors.
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