HO, HOoooo, No Caboose!!

Christmas was good!! Had my gang over on Christmas Eve, minus big Sis. She had the audacity to fall off the last step to her laundry room, break her foot, have surgery Christmas Eve, test drive crutches Christmas Day and finally arrive home Boxing Day. Did she have to make a whole production of it??? God bless her, she’s resting comfortably at home, her foot propped up high above sea level and being waited on hand and foot, with visitors coming left, right and centre making her bedroom door look like the revolving one at The Plaza Hotel!! The six week lay-up is going to be frustrating and I’m guessing we’re all going to get a gazillion pieces of beaded jewelry for Christmas 2009!! I’d like a bracelet, please!!!

As each of my sisters decided not to exchange gifts this year, and as I had already completed something for each of them, I went ahead anyway and presented my gift to each sister on Christmas Eve. My brother’s copy was mailed to him only because he insists on living in the wilds of Northern Ontario and for some ungodly reason loves it!! Even though Gail was laying around in Hamilton getting her foot all bent back into shape, the girls went ahead and opened their gifts. It was fun to watch each one open their parcel, then have their jaws drop to the ground when they discovered what it was and begin to flip through the pages of this “Book”.

The story behind this “Book”:   In 1947 our parents travelled to the Island of Eleuthra where my father was going to work on a plantation and teach the Islanders how to farm. As Mom became pregnant with her second child, she decided to have her baby back home in Canada and, naturally, the letters began the day she left. Over 150 of these love letters were rediscovered and I was certain they had to be archived for posterity and family historical purposes. Having knowledge of the Lulu.com web site (an on-line, print on demand publishing company) I was successful in getting the letters published. The experience was absolutely wonderful and I now have ideas galore floating around in my mushy little brain for other projects. The end reward was (as they say) “priceless”. Each and every sibling now has a fully-published book containing each and every letter, along with letters from friends and relatives (including our grandparents). For an added bonus I included pictures that Dad took before he travelled for home almost a year later.

The Book is a great insight into our parents’ thoughts and ideas of how they wanted to begin their lives, after being married in 1945. With her husband in the Bahamas, living with her mother, raising her first child and pregnant with her second child, our Mom writes to Dad about the shortage of diapers, certain food items, how expensive sugar is after the war, what’s going on within the little village of Smithville and, above all, lets him know how much he’s missed. Dad writes back reassuring his love, describing what he’s doing on a daily basis and giving an historical insight into life on the Island. Dad also writes little notes on some of the letters to his first born, Gail, which in my opinion is something every child would cherish to have and keep. The letters are fun to read and you certainly begin to understand their sense of humour and they reaffirm what their children already knew – their great love for each other!

After an exciting and fun Christmas Eve, Nat and I went to bed exhausted. We had a few leftover cookies, squares and treats we cleaned up and packed up before rising early Christmas morning to travel down the road to see the grandkids open their presents from us. Again, a lot of excitement, with No. 1 grandson wound up like a tightly wound corkscrew. The whole world doesn’t go fast enough for Lucas, but he tries hard to keep himself in check! He enjoyed the XBox 360 game we bought him and his sister, Karly, was thrilled with her new top-of-the-line, lean-back, adjustable desk chair with adjustable arms!! Along with her new iPod Touch and recently purchased laptop computer from her hard-earned summer job, her parents are going to have a struggle to get her out of that chair, away from her desk and her text messaging, emailing and whatever else teenagers are into these days!!

When we arrived at our other granddaughters’ home, the two of them were glued to their new iPods and took enough time to open our gifts of a new Web Cam for Felicia and more DVDs, a headphone and jewelry box for Bridget. Being their first iPods and already having one, I gave them tips and tricks on how to work with iTunes and get started. I’m thinking their music might take a back seat to the games for awhile – they were both enthralled in playing the whole time we were there.

After all of the excitement, Nat and I headed home to rest up and then off to Marilyn’s for supper. Shawn cooked the turkey and stuffing, while everyone else bought a side dish and the meal was wonderful. We were all clammering after Shawn’s newly discovered recipe for his apple, sausage stuffing and enjoyed good conversation sitting around the dinner table afterward and munching on a tray load of more sweets and treats.

With the Christmas excitement over, we again headed back home exhausted and after a really good night’s sleep awoke to put some bread in the oven and then head off to Claudia’s for a wonderful ham supper. We all got caught up on Gail’s recent adventures to the hospital, had a great supper, watched the kids play Wii games afterwards and again, great conversation and laughs.

All in all a great Christmas despite the fact that Nat and I had to constantly remind ourselves that it was, in fact, Christmas.

“Where” you may ask does the title “HO, HOooo, No Caboose” come in. It doesn’t really, except that on our way home today from visiting Gail and dear brother, Clair (who was laying over from his stop in Toronto), we had to wait for one of those long “Prairie” trains passing through the little village of Stevensville. It had “No Caboose” and I miss seeing them. That’s all!!!