Lights in the Park
December 16, 2010
Merry Christmas to All!
Oranges have graced our holiday table since were newlyweds. Way back in the recesses of my memory I can remember my Mom telling me how very important getting a Christmas orange was. My Mom was 56 when I came to be. Her husband died that same year. My Mom had lived through a lot of hard times including the Great Depression. She used to tell the most amazing stories of her childhood days and oh how I longed to experience some of that. She came from a rather large family and while she never said they were poor, her family were farmers living in a small Ontario area so they certainly were not well to do by any stretch of the imagination. Their mode of transportation was horse and buggy and while the family later got a Model T, she never learned to drive. They heated with coal and one of my Mom's daily chores was to stoke the fire. One day she suffered a nasty cut on her thumb while stoking the fire. It became badly infected so one of her thumb bones (tip to first joint) had to be cut out to save her life. She missed so much school that when she returned she had to start grade 2 all over again. She quit school and never went back. In some respects this explains her strong emphasis on getting an education. I think she always regretted not getting one because she was smart as a whip!
Back in her childhood days Christmas was not so commercialized. The only thing my Mom ever wanted for Christmas was an orange. Back then getting oranges in Ontario was a lot more difficult and were considerably more expensive. Year after year that is the only thing my Mom ever asked for. Her Mom somehow managed to tuck an orange in my Mom's stocking, hung at the end of her bed. She told us of how very grateful and loved that she felt that her Mom would save throughout the year just to be able to get each one of them an orange for Christmas. That story always stuck with me. The underlying message was to always be grateful for the sacrifices others have to make in life just to make you happy. It taught me to appreciate the little things in life. Once I got a bit older I always made sure my Mom had oranges in the house. She so enjoyed them but I'll bet they never tasted as sweet as the oranges her Mom got her for Christmas.
Mom passed away several years ago on Christmas day so it is always a bittersweet day for me. I would have loved to have many more Christmas days to enjoy with her, breathing in all the delightful stories of time long gone. Ah, the memories and my Christmas oranges tastes just a little sweeter!