The joys of Christmas

By Leah Fournier Della Porta

Photo : Archives of the Author

Christmas is a time for giving to everyone especially to unfortunate people. It is not always a monetary gift or one wrapped in red ribbon, but it can be a gift from the heart like the one that Bonnie, a friend of mine, received recently. Bonnie was taking a walk on the property in St. Lazare and admiring the scenery. She came upon a little bridge where she could see some ducks underneath. She had some bread crumbs in her hands and proceeded to stretch over the side of the bridge, when she went a little too far and fell over the bridge into the water, except there was not much water. This was in August so she hit the rocks and lay there for awhile, then got up and dragged herself to a nearby house where when the owner saw her covered in blood from head to toe, she immediately called 911. Bonnie had six broken ribs, a broken elbow, multiple lacerations on her face and the top of her head was pushed in. She also had to have something corrected in her back by an operation. Needless to say, she was in terrible shape.

This happened two days before she was due to move to Montreal. So her best friend Lilliana said she would take care of tpe move for her. After a long stay in the hospital and many operations, Bonnie went to a rehabilitation center, then came home thinking about all those boxes she had packed sitting in her place and furniture piled everywhere, but when she opened the door to her apartment, « Lord and behold », everything was in order. Curtains were hung, paintings were on the wall and all the furniture was in its proper place. What a joy it was, she burst into tears at such a lovely sight. This gesture was worth more than words can say. This was truly a gift from the heart.

Jingle bells, Jingle bells … Years ago when my Mom was just a young girl, ‘people celebrated Xmas a little differently than today. Mom would ride with her parents in a horse drawn sleigh to go to Midnight Mass. They would put bells on the horses, so that when two sleighs would meet over very narrow roads, one would hear the bells and move over the side to let one get through. On Christmas day, Mom would go to her Aunt Delia’s house for dinner with her parents and there were a lot of aunts and uncles and cousins to share the traditional turkey dinner with pies and cakes and candies and nuts and gifts. On New Year’s day, the dinner was at Mom’s grand parents’ house where they dined on roast goose, yams and fruitcakes and mince pies and lots of other goodies.

Later on, in the 70’s, Mom had a white flocked tree decorated with poinsettias and red bows. My daughter was mesmerized by that tree, she had never seen one quite like it before. Now the holiday traditions are being observed with singular gusto. Tall trees, winking light ? and embellishments of classic red and green are the time honoured trimmings in most homes today.

No matter how you celebrate Christmas today, it should be a happy one and a peaceful one and one where you have given of yourself, whether it be money, a gift or doing a good deed for someone like the one that was given to my friend Bonnie.

Merry Christmas to all and peace to the world.

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