My family and I are all originally from Nova Scotia, so I thought I'd share some photos from past Christmas times tell a little family story. The top picture of the pony and sleigh is a picture of my mom, my grandmother and Charlie Norris who my mom says was from "up above us"...that must mean he lived on a hill above my grandmother's farm in rural eastern Nova Scotia. Not exactly a Christmas picture, but what a fun thing to do. My mom thinks that was their pony, Tammy, who had a sweet tooth. The sugar maple in the front yard was tapped and this horse would drink all of the syrup from the buckets before they would get to it. It was also a "miserable damn thing"...a biter. So you see, idyllic as this picture might appear, that there is a horse that would drink all of your maple syrup and then finish up by chomping on your hand.
This next picture is my mom and I sorting presents on my grandmother's kitchen floor. That's an oil stove in the background that keeps the kitchen toasty and is the main reason that this is the central gathering room in my grandmother's house. You can tell it's an old photo, not just from the rounded corners and colours, but from that cat-choking tinsel that's dripping off the branches of that tree. We were always allowed to open one present on Christmas eve, and it was usually a stuffed animal when we were little kids. They gave us something to cuddle when we were too excited to sleep.
This last photo I've had to ask for my mom's help with, because the story is pretty weird...like a lot of stories from my family. That's my uncle on the far right, and as you can see, he's about to pass a bowl of something or other around to everyone at the Christmas dinner table. Now the story goes, he passes the bowl and everyone else at the table dies. I mean, it's not so dramatic, it takes ten years or so for them to all pass away, but they do. Every one of them except my uncle (that's my grandfather, great grandfather, and my great uncle Johnny from left to right). So, my mother asks, what was in that bowl?
I love looking through these old photos and having the chance to ask my mom about them. There are lots of amazing photos from her side of the family that she has unearthed over the years, and I'm glad she's got stories to tell about most everyone in them. Christmas at my grandmother's farm was always so nice. I got to talk to her yesterday, she's 91 and still on that same farm, sitting next to the oil stove in the kitchen. I hope she has a pretty tree set up and had a wonderful Christmas, and I hope the same for all of you.