Each year during December, I often have memories of Christmas in my childhood days. We lived in rural southern Ontario and the winters back then were much like the winter we had here last year. There was always lots of snow on the ground and we always looked forward to having fun in the snow.
Back then, Christmas was a time for family. We didn't get much from Santa. I remember one year when my brother got a metal farm tractor and wagon and a wooden barn that my mother had made. She had cut the entire barn out of plywood, hinged the double door and painted it red. The tractor and wagon fit inside perfectly. This was an amazing gift for my brother, as he was crazy about farm life. He played with these things for hours, pretending to drive into the fields, pick up hay and straw and store it inside of that barn that mother had spent hours making after we kids were tucked in and fast asleep.
I think one of my best Christmases was the year I received a pair of skates from Santa. They fit perfectly. Though they weren't new, they were new to me and they were the first pair of white ice skates I'd ever had. I was ecstatic.
My interests were of an outdoor nature. I loved to visit the old red barn. When I stepped through the door on a cold winter day, it seemed so cozy and warm inside. I would find a spot to sit in the hay and listen to the cows lowing, as they chewed their cuds. I loved trudging through the snow in the barnyard to visit the chickens and geese. A visit to the horse barn was always in order, because that is where my favorite team, Punch and Maude were housed.
Punch and Maude were the team that always pulled the sleigh and they were well matched. Often, on a Sunday afternoon, and always on Christmas day, Grandpa would hook the team to the sleigh and ask who wanted to go for a ride. I never passed up the opportunity to snuggle in the straw with great-grandpa while the horses pulled us over hill and dale, across bridges and over icy streams. We would wave as we passed neighbors who were going about their chores and they would wave back. As twilight descended, we would head back to the horse where there was a hot meal waiting.
My memories of these sleigh rides are happy ones. Those were the days when simple things were what melded families together. Though we didn't have much, we never considered ourselves as being poor. Instead we were rich with the love of family and happy times together.
Enjoy the week and remember to do an random act of kindness for someone less fortunate. Say a kind word or give someone who looks down your best smile. There are times when a smile from a stranger is a great blessing to those who are struggling with the issues of life. ~Blessings, Mary~