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easy and beautiful !

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Hot Prospects for a Cold Winter

 Well, well Sarah!

Such fascinating Christmas experiences you’ve been describing: the réveillons of the past, your own recent account of your accomplished meals (even with the help of Chabichou) and now the long ago tales of your grandfather Garski. If I dug deep enough I might come up with some pretty "Dark" stuff myself but I have this lifelong habit of remembering only the good and deleting the bad from my memory (check out a neat book; "Delete: the Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age ( Mayer-Schoenberger). Snippets of Christmases past roam around in my mind but not entire chapters. My baby sister used to say, "all Adria has to do is smell the roses and she's happy". It's true. So even if my memories of Christmases past are not really considered “dark” they are nevertheless still so very defining. Here goes, Francine:

Money was tight. It must always have been. In Holland, when I was eight years old, the wealthy Feurmans across the street passed their children’s cast off toys on to my mother who wrapped them up and created amazing tables laden with wonders we never suspected were hand-me-downs. I remember life-sized dolls with reddish cheeks and siren hair and wide eyes that opened and closed when you jerked their heads back and forth …  and oranges, always oranges. Once we had arrived in the cold northern wilderness of Canada, my father became handy at crafting wooden toys and I can still smell the fresh paint on the orange sled that I had to share with all my sisters and our Indian playmates on the hills of Queen Mary School. Did my mother feel inadequate? Was she disappointed? Did she feel shame in having to pretend? I'll never know. I do know that I have always felt privileged and that I was the luckiest girl in the world. But why then did I disappear from the warmth of my family living room one cold winter night to go carolling in the neighbourhood and return with a thousand coins jingling in both pockets that I turned inside out for my mother to see? Children have a sixth sense.

Just curious as to why you insist on the X of Xmas (and even use lower case)? I hated that word the very first time it was used and can't recall why it came into existence. It just seems to obliterate everything by putting a big X through it all like a No Frills Christmas. It sounds cardboardish and fake to me. No offence.

Carlo has been quick to remove much of the festive decor, with my permission of course. The greenery snapped and fell to the floor every time someone brushed by it. Although I’m greatly influenced by seasonal ornaments and their transforming powers, I do like starting off the New Year with a Tabula Rasa. 

January seems to be shaping up nicely and it does not look dull or cold when I consider my social calendar. Francis and I have agreed to meet at a neighbourhood Starbucks, actually not far from our ‘dirty’ days hangouts we’d escape to when I boarded with Mrs. Thurber in North Toronto. Francine has suggested an early dinner sometime before one of our Monday classes. Preferably Indian food. She’ll mention it next time. Here’s your chance to get real close and personal with baby face Markie. You won’t back out will you?!

I feel like the pub on Prince Arthur for our next literary tête-à-tête, as long as it's not a Friday suppertime. Their fireplace seems so welcoming with this sudden cold spell.


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