Moms for the Holidays

Home again after the holiday trek through Ontario. Haliburton was quiet, homely and the wee traditions of the season were observed: dinner for my bride’s birthday on the 23rd ; Dylan Thomas on tape reciting “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” on the 24th (sweet stuff — “I said a few words to the close and holy darkness, and then I slept”); a few small gifts and, in the evening, plum pudding (with three kinds of sauces!) on Christmas Day. Quiet dealings, no reindeer, and modest gifting, though Sam loved his Whirly-O thingy with all the fun of its “gravitational, magnetic and centrifugal forces!” Somehow, I got to watch crazy amounts of sport, two basketball games and even parts of two NFL games, thus increasing my 2005 viewing percentages by infinite amounts. On Boxing Day we drove away, waving goodbye to Mother Margery and her beloved front porch SnowTroll™.

The Haldimand County homing was sweet, even if part of it now has to happen at Mom’s residence in Hamilton. It ain’t the same, but the Ol’ Girl loves to see all of us, even if she sometimes mixes up which grandchild is which (or whose). The idea of an entertainment review for her was a beauty, though there was a lot of avoidance behaviour on the part of the granchildren. Thank goodness for Christy, whose dramatic flair with Robert Service saved the rather dull offerings that some of the rest of us made. Or didn’t! Too much food back at Big Sister’s, but the conversation was as lively and interesting as I can remember. The New David (isn’t it remarkable how often SigOthers share the same name, hair colour or laugh as their predecessors?) stirs the Howden stew very engagingly, and his curiosity and interest in people pushed the conversation to very interesting and very funny places. It’s good to have our collective conversational cage rattled in such a friendly way.

The trip back to Ottawa yesterday was a long one, partly due to freezing rain and partly due to a satisfying stopover in Toronto, where I was able to interview Adrienne Clarkson, the former Governor General (my once-upon-a-boss), and her husband John Ralston Saul. They had agreed to give me an hour each for an infant  series I’m hoping will grow up into a fine book one day. I got more than my hour from each of them, and had an altogether sweet several hours at their new Toronto digs, which are lovely and busy and almost feeling like home. And the dreary ol’ 401 got us back home safely again. Looking forward to ’06.