We got a white Christmas. For those of you who live in snowier regions, you're probably thinking, "So what? We've had snow since the Grey Cup." But here in Dayton, we haven't had a December 24/25 snowfall in excess of an inch since 2010. I wasn't dreaming of it, like Bing Crosby crooning about it (I suspect this national obsession with snow began with that movie.) Personally, I worry about walking/driving when it's icy. But as mother always used to say, "You can't do much about the weather." She had a way with a good adage.
We attended a 5 pm Christmas Eve service — the one with the Christmas story, carols, candles, a young couple playing the roles of Mary and Joseph whose tiny one slept through her part as the baby Jesus (yes, a darling baby girl played Jesus this year — I liked that) and kids gathered in the manger scene dressed up as sheep, shepherds, angels and "wise ones" — a non-gender-specific nod to the fact that either girls or boys could choose this role. We walked out of the church into a shaken snow globe and everyone called out good wishes to one another for a Merry Christmas and safe drive home. It was heart-warming.
Something about snow flakes falling gently makes everything peaceful. This is not true of raging blizzards or those monumental 8-foot drift extravaganzas we experienced in Buffalo. Those were enough to induce panic. But by this Christmas morning, a light blanket of snow covered the ground in our neighborhood, the sun had come out, and everything suddenly went all cozy. All was calm, all was bright.
We spent a pleasant day, opening gifts, popping a breakfast casserole in the oven, watching Her Majesty, the Queen's message, FaceTiming or phoning family, preparing our evening meal to share with our next door neighbors, toasting the season with some champagne that they brought along to dinner, eating too much, going for a glass of wine at another neighbor's.
Today, December 26th, I am enjoying a second cup of tea in my Ho Ho Ho mug, contemplating a designated "No Bra" day, and eventually I'll get around to washing last night's dishes. Ken put Yak-Trax on his boots due to the ice and took Riley for a walk. We put the dog's new sweater on him because of the frosty air. He's such a sweet soul, he doesn't seem to mind wearing clothes. We tell him how dapper he looks to make him feel okay about it.
For us Canadians, this is Boxing Day, which is a holiday that can either mean, "Wear pjs all day and eat left overs," or "Hit the malls to return stuff." For me it is usually an excuse to extend the holiday spirit one more day before the post-Christmas blues set in. I love all the anticipation and excitement — and then ppppphhhfftt! It's over. That makes me sad.
Ken announced his retirement the week before Christmas. That makes me happy. I'm delighted that after 40 years of working, he will be able to slow down, at least a little. And I am thrilled that we will be moving back to Canada, returning to our beloved west coast. After years of discussion about, "where will we live when we retire?" we decided on Nanaimo, British Columbia. Our new house is only steps away from an ocean beach. The thought of it makes me giddy. For the geographically challenged among you, I am including a map — also handy if you would think about visiting us.
So, you see, I have this happy/sad thing going on. We are sad to be leaving Dayton. We love our home and the community, Ken loves his job, I love the volunteer work Riley and I do reading with kids, and we have made so many good friends here. People have been extraordinarily kind to us. Saying good bye come September is going to be heart wrenching.
But we are happy to think about future adventures and rekindling friendships in Qualicum Beach, Victoria, Richmond and Vancouver. Traveling to see family and friends in Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Hamilton or Montreal will involve only provincial border crossings which do not require passports and documentation.
Most of you already know our news. Thank you everyone for your warm wishes. We so appreciate your phone calls, emails, cards, comments on Facebook, and kind words. If this is the first time you've heard it — surprise!
May your days be merry and bright. And may at least a few of your Christmases be white. Chances are pretty good it will be raining in Nanaimo on December 25th, 2018.
Lesley,Ken & Riley