Merry Christmas from Donna and Jim
Archives for December 2, 2017
THE GREAT CHRISTMAS TREE HUNT!
When I was in Grade Four, Dad, Vic Tribbick and Blaine Francis pooled their resources and bought Madden’s Lake. It was one of only three lakes that the land under the lake was privately owned. They leased the meadow to a rancher and fixed up the old cabin that was quite close to the shore. They built a dock that jutted out into the lake. Our families spent quite a bit of time at the lake.
In late November it was decided that they would go up one weekend and cut trees to sell as Christmas trees. Of course the kids would have to be involved! I remember Paul and Phyllis Tribbick, myself and Sandy, Mike Newman and Norman Francis were the anchors hired for this big expedition! Lawrence, Leanne and Norma were too small but they were there and Mike was just along for the ride.
When the appointed Sunday rolled around, Mom, Lily and Alice came up by car and the kids rode in the back of a couple of trucks. There were axes and saws, rope and even a couple of small ladders. The Mom’s had a back seat full of sandwiches, thermoses of hot chocolate and coffee, chocolate bars, candy canes and of course oranges.
It was a beautiful day…bright and clear and crisp. The snow crunched as we walked into the forest in search of the best trees. We kids were given a very serious lecture about staying near the adults so as not to get lost. As we walked along someone starting singing Christmas carols and soon the hills were echoing with The Sound of Music! (Couldn’t resist that line…lol.)
It didn’t take long to find a stand of beautiful trees of all sizes and the work began. Once the tree was down, the anchors (that was us kids) would carry the trees to the trucks and stand them up. When we got enough of the same size, we then had to lay them down in the truck. The next row of trees had to go in the opposite way to make sure they didn’t get all flattened out.
There was a lot of playing too while we waited for the trees. We made angels in the snow, built an igloo, a snowman or four, had a snowball fight or two. You never saw so many rosy cheeks in one little group!
Finally the trucks were loaded down with trees and now for the anchors to get into position. Dad and Vic grabbed onto the trees in the middle of the load and the two anchors Sandy and Phyllis crawled in…it was their job to hold the load or at least holler should something start to slide…LOL. Next load Paul, Mike, Norm and I crawled in to our appointed space between the layers. The ropes were brought out and the loads were tied down. Now, seriously, I don’t think we were much help in keeping the trees from moving, I know now that our parents figured we would just have fun doing it!
There was something magical about being surrounded by the smell of pine and fir, safely cocooned inside the layers of trees and being with our friends and family. We laughed and sang songs all the way home and hated it when the ride was over. Covered in needles we made our way to the front porch and got brushed off and then inside for hot cocoa and cookies.
We did this the next year and the year after until the lake was sold to the government. Some of the best memories come from simple things and I remember the Christmas Tree Hunts and the Tribbick’s and Francis’ with much delight.
We recently had a three week vacation and on the last day I started to feel sick, itchy ears, scratchy throat, definitely the start of a cold. We spent all day travelling on three planes to get home, landing in Kelowna after 1.00 in the morning. We had a motel booked and I fell into bed.
Next morning I was coughing and feeling rough, we drove home, picked up our three furry kids from their vacation at The Little Green Farm, bought groceries and did a couple of necessary chores. I lit our wonderful log fire, made a light lunch then took to my recliner with a blanket. This suited the cat who promptly took up her position mid lap and settled down for a nap.
Dave spent the afternoon unpacking, carrying laundry through to the laundry room, generously spreading underwear and socks over the laundry room floor and into the kitchen. He then spread all the paper information that he picked up on our trip, onto the floor in front of his chair. He loves to pick up information and will sometimes collect five to ten pounds of it. He once tossed out all his new socks and underwear because his luggage was overweight and he desperately wanted his info. As you can imagine, this was a sore point for quite a while.
By this time I was past caring what he did and just slept in front of the fire. Next day I felt worse and went to the doctors who diagnosed bronchitis, gave me some antibiotic and a puffer spray. The pharmacist gave me detailed instructions and also a written pamphlet, describing the medication I had been given. Started with both meds and hoped for the best. The puffer contained steroids so had to be taken and immediately rinse out the mouth and gargle. The antibiotics had to be taken on an empty stomach and no milk products, however, if it should bother my stomach, I could take it with milk…huh?
I was drinking only hot lemon with honey, which is very soothing for a cough and cold, Dave was fixing meals and I kept out of the kitchen as we have very different ideas on keeping it tidy. He was making meals and I left him to it. He was due to take off for a trip to Scotland six days after we came back from our vacation, so he kept himself busy preparing for his trip. He was going to be spending time with my cousin and his sister so frankly I wasn’t worried about what he took to wear.
On the day he left, I hauled myself out of bed and took him to Penticton airport then came back home for five weeks of solitary life. The idea of peace and quiet was very appealing, the dogs and I have this agreement that lying around, doing nothing is quite OK as long as everyone gets some lap time. I can manage one dog and the cat but not all three together.
I finished the antibiotics and was feeling no better and the constant coughing had caused my back and neck to go into spasms. A visit to the physio and some muscle relaxants, helped a lot with this. I made another appointment with my doctor she didn’t like the sound my lungs were making and gave me a new prescription for a different puffer and some Prednasone. This medication came with it’s own set of rules and times to be taken. She also sent me for an xray. The doctor called me later in the day to say my lungs looked funky, some new medical term I suppose, anyway I now had pneumonia and she would fax a new prescription over to the pharmacist.
The new stuff came with it’s own set of instructions and an information sheet full of dire side effects. I still had to carry on with the previous medication and both puffers. Things got so complicated with when to take them that I had to make up a roster. Between puffing and gargling, puffing without gargling, empty stomach, and full stomach, I have my whole day mapped out. If I feel like a snack, I have to do the math before I eat my banana.
This is only a temporary situation and another week should see me free from all these pills and puffs. How do people manage when they are on permanent medication? I am happy to say the coughing is greatly reduced, I am less exhausted and am feeling bored, a sure sign that I am getting better. The past couple of days saw me finding my knitting and do several hours a day. The house stays tidy with just me in it and I just don’t look at the dust, another week and I will probably back to my normal busy, bossy self but, for a while longer the cat and I are very comfy on the recliner.
Today I think back the December’s past when I was a boy. It was a few years after the war. Everything from luxuries to Christmas decorations were still in short supply. Most kids like us didn’t even realize we were poor when compared to city standards, we had each other and we made our own entertainment. Our television was a radio – all the major programs were on radio, TV hadn’t broken out of the city, In some parts of the country power lilnes were a recent addition. Oh there were background noises on the news about some war in a place called Korea but kids didn’t pay much attention.
Stores even the little general store decorated for Christmas, and we called it Christmas. We went up into the mountain and got our Christmas tree and dragged it home. My mother I am sure considered some of our trees lacked shape so much so a few times my dad drilled into the truck and added a branch or two. All of us had a close community connection. We were in the spirit of the season.
So what is so different today? People ask “How are you today?” and you know damn well they could care less. In our time even though things were tight, there was an anticipation in the air it would get better all we had to do was wait for our ship to come in. Today we have a new world, post truth, post ethics, the icons are falling like flies in accusations of sexual impropriety and we are critical of our neighbor in some cases neighbors we don’t know. We are obsessed with having heros and being in a state of mourning. Instead of being in mourning when an event is fresh, we drag it up every year for decades until another one comes along. For years it was Pearl Harbour until nine eleven. We have been obsessed with saving taxes to the point where we can’t afford to fund programs that are essential to society. Our kids will not be as well off as our generation. People don’t have the same dedication to their profession, no work ethic, and in many cases they don’t have that either but I am talking about dedication. What is the difference? A work ethic is about doing a job, putting in the time to get the job done regardless of the level of difficulty. Dedication is about doing a first class job every time without shirking responsibility and dedication is about not bitching when the going gets tough. People are not as loyal as they once were either but that is for another time.
There is an uncertainty in the air. A nervous tension knowing we are on the head of a pin with a bunch of people playing the role of leaders, without a bloody clue as to how dangerous a game they are playing. This is more than just about Trump, its about the entire leadership in America. Its about the lack of leadership almost everywhere in the world.
Have you noticed every leader has a solution to a problem but no vision as to how we could avoid some of our mistakes instead they appeal to the lowest common denominator. In the days of my childhood people had the feeling they didn’t need to know every detail. Why? They trusted police, soldiers, politicians ad nd the clergy. Today we don’t trust any of them. Even worse we have lost respect for most of them. It comes down to this when you know something is about to happen and you trust there is anticipation. When there is a lack of trust, a sense of frustration, and a burning anger that the system isn’t fair, there is a sense of fear. I don’t usually subscribe to the fear angle its stressful. However the world has a mad man at the helm and a chorus of fools singing his praises. We have people under this situation that believe God is going to save them. He’s not, because even God knows you can’t fix stupid. He has seen humans at work before and he didn’t save them either.
This isn’t about going back to a simpler time either, remember you are living in someone else s simpler time.
What this is about is giving our collective head a shake and understanding if we don’t do something to change our lot no one else will the Christmas season tests our level of good will and charity and New Year is to think with sober reflection and dedication to be better in the New Year.
We have a long way to go.
Fred Steele © 2017