Good morning everyone. To be honest I hope you aren’t reading this when I post it. It’s early and I can’t sleep.
Not sleeping well on a Christmas Eve/Christmas morning used to be my normal routine. As a kid I would go to be early with all of these expectations of Christmas morning in my head. I desperately wanted to sleep but never could (even then I knew that sleep would make Christmas come sooner). I would read, count sheep, read some more and eventually around 4 a.m. my brother and sister would wander into my room while we debated if it was too early to go upstairs and wake up my mom (it was but it didn’t stop all three of us from taking the opposite view).
Around 5 a.m. we would try to wake up Mom only to be hollered at to go back to bed (later on I found out that she was awake too but wasn’t going to get up at 5:00 a.m. to open presents). Around 6:30 a.m. she would wake up and tell us that we couldn’t come up until the coffee machine was done perking her coffee. The normally fast coffee maker would slow down to a crawl on Christmas morning as we huddled at the bottom of the steps waiting for it to finish while Mom set out our Christmas stockings. Every drop of coffee was heard and seemed to take forever.
After what seemed like hours, her coffee would be done and we would open our stockings and then our gifts before Mom would make us a big breakfast. Since our stockings always had candy in them, at least once that morning Mom would say, “no more chocolate until breakfast” which would generate howls of laughter from her and us as soon as the words left her mouth.
After breakfast the wrapping paper would be carefully gathered up making sure nothing got tossed out. Mom would then turn on the Disneyworld Christmas Day parade and we would collectively mock Regis and Joan Lunden. Joan Lunden isn’t nearly as irritating as Kathy Lee Gifford but it was Christmas morning and we were high on chocolate and strong coffee. Some toys would be assembled but in a family of readers, the books would distract us and soon all three kids would be in our rooms reading whatever soft cover book was in our stocking. Since all three of us were up all night, it lead to a Christmas Day nap and some quiet time for Mom.
Then we would do something fun. We went public skating one year, tobogganing on many of them, often we took Misty our dog for a walk along the Meewasin Trail and there was often friends who stopped by. Once mom would make her initial proclamation of “no more chocolate until breakfast”, you would hear someone say it every time someone ate a candy, including her.
Eventually it was time for the Christmas dinner. Mom had these crystal glasses that meant the world to her. She would always warn us to be careful and it seemed like every Christmas she would break one in the weirdest of ways. Even weirder was that even with brain cancer, she never broke many things except for those goblets. The Bay sold them and we would always pick up the replacement glass for her on Mother’s Day but it was kind of a tradition, Mom breaking her prized goblets. It wasn’t like she dropped them. Something would fall out of a counter (which never happened) bounce and the ricochet into the goblet. We would just sit there with a look that said, “I can’t believe that happened”. Even weirder is that as kids, we never broke one and we were the ones who broke everything.
Then it was a night of talking together, playing crokinole, and drinking too much strong coffee.
I hated crokinole. Mom played it all of the time as a kid and would sit there and do all of these crazy trick shots and then go, “Jordon do you want to play?” Let me see, getting humiliated by my mother who was a poor winner seems like a lot of fun. She was undefeated for her entire adult life. I was winless. So I would play and get beat badly and then get taunted for losing. I was so happy when Jolene and Lee were there and could be beat as well. To be fair, my mom was insanely competitive and would accept any video game challenge we made to her. She got as good as good as she gave. Then we would wind down and make plans to take the tree down on Boxing Day. Christmas always started the same (waiting for coffee to perk) and ended the same (waiting for more coffee to perk).
Taking the Christmas tree down on Boxing Day started because my great Aunt Beth spent every Christmas with us. Aunt Beth never married and adopted Mom as her favourite niece and spent every holiday with us. She would come down from Regina on the bus and stay for a couple of weeks. We loved Aunt Beth but she was eccentric and lived alone too long. She was also really short (that matters) and smoked a lot. i used to bug her that she lit her last cigarette when rationing ended after World War II and then just lit one smoke of another since then. It wasn’t that far from the truth.
Aunt Beth would come in the second week of December and so would the smell of Player’s Light cigarettes. So to get the smell of nice pine Christmas Tree, our tree had to go up before Aunt Beth got here. Which meant by Boxing Day, we were tired of the tree and Christmas decorations in general so it all came down. She never realized the reason and I don’t think she cared that much either. There was still cookies to eat and festivities to take part of.
So today is going to kind of be the same kind of day. The boys aren’t awake yet but they will be upstairs soon. My coffee is being made as I write this and I assume I will be joined shortly by Oliver and Mark (who will also be drinking my coffee) We will have a nice breakfast together and then head downtown where we will take some photos of an empty and abandoned downtown core. Mark, Wendy, Oliver and I have new camera gear to test out. Someone has to feed Bridge City with fresh photographs. Then back home for a charcuterie board for lunch and maybe the kids will have a nap while Wendy cooks our Christmas dinner before spending the night goofing off and drinking too much coffee.
Hope your day is a good one. Merry Christmas.
(tomorrow, the decorations come down)