Christmastime was like a sensorial avalanche as a child. It was a time for family reunions and renewing friendships. There would ofttimes be indulgent Christmas parties with spreads of candies and sugar biscuits. Sweet breads would neatly be arranged on a banquet styled table with an overlay of tablecloth which would be Père Noël themed.
Dad would take me on a scavenger hunt in our extensive back yard area that stretched to the mountains, through the snow-capped trees. He would ask me to find pine cones and rabbit tracks. This was all part of his masterplan to quell my unending moaning about nearly frozen solid feet. He was the connoisseur of Blue spruce hunting, advising our neighbours to pick between the spruce or the Balsam fir. Peppermint hot chocolate would always await my arrival back home, rounding out what could only be described as a picturesque day.
Umpteen things have changed since those days. Two years ago, dad suffered an Ischemic Stroke. Now wheelchair bound, his ax for cutting the Blue spruce has since been replaced with transfer aids so he can get to and from the car. My mother working toilsomely day in and out to care for my father was a feat she could no longer manage. She too was growing old; an executive decision was made to move them into a senior home.
My Christmas nowadays is spent here. I pull my suburban into a vast parking lot. Within this concrete jungle there are no spruces to be seen; I half-heartedly make my way up to my parents’ apartment. There as I open the door lay a spread of biscuits on a quaint table in the corner with a Père Noël tablecloth. I realize with anticipation that Christmas was not in the land I grew up on. It was with these people and wherever they were, home would always be found.
The magic and wonderment of the season still could be espied in a cup of peppermint hot chocolate, in this humble apartment. And I can nigh on once again smell the scent of the Blue spruce.