by Hester M. Curtis
all the things that have changed over the years, I take comfort
in the fact that
Christmas has not. Oh, I know that it has become very commercialized,
but in our family, it is steeped in traditions passed down through
remember so many things that would take place in the weeks prior
to Christmas Day. At school and church there were rehearsals for
the Christmas plays or the choir. Every year, after the church service
at All Saints Church in downtown Windsor, the the story of Mary,
Joseph and baby Jesus would be performed. The women in the parish
hall served sandwiches afterwards.
gave out awards for attendance and a bag of candy for everyone.
The children of the parish put on a little talent contest, which
was followed by Christmas carols. The hall was decorated with streamers,
tinsel and lights. It was a very magical event and we never missed
very patient Sunday School teacher, Miss Benfield, was in charge
of organizing everything. She was a dedicated church worker who
was Sunday School superintendent until a few years before her death.
She was a no nonsense teacher and her voice was loud and piercing
so we knew that when she said to do something, she meant it. But
her kindness far out weighed her toughness.
mother began baking several days before the big day. She made mince
tarts, lemon curd tarts, maid of honour tarts, Christmas cake and
of course plum pudding. Whenever I smell turkey cooking, I think
of mothers house on Christmas day. It was unforgettable!
Christmas tree was always real. We decorated it with lights and
ornaments, most of which my mother had made. They have been passed
down through the years and adorn our trees today.
brothers and sisters and I were allowed to ask for one thing each
Christmas and it met our parents approval, Santa would bring
it to us. We also each received a stocking filled with goodies and
a little surprise gift, and we always got a new outfit.
didnt fully realize then how fortunate we were although our
parents attempted to make us aware that there were others who wouldnt
get a nice Christmas. There was one family in particular that we
always helped at Christmas time we took food, clothing and
gifts to their home.
memorable as all of my Christmas were, there was one that
I shall never forget. We always had wonderful dinners that numbered
as many as 40 guests. This year, as usual, mother, prepared the
dinner. However, we decided to make the work for her a little easier
so we took our big 25 lb. turkey to a local restaurant to have it
before dinner the turkey was delivered. It looked delicious and
smelled wonderful. All thirty-five of us sat down and devoured it.
we were taking the dishes into the kitchen after the dessert and
coffee, the oldest member of our family dropped to the floor moaning
in pain. We thought he was having a heart attack. Desperately we
called for an ambulance, but to no avail. It was also impossible
to get a doctor because it was Christmas day.
the rest of the adults started dropping back into their chairs while
children were throwing up and crying. Suddenly, everyone was trying
to get into one of the two bathrooms. We began pulling towels and
sheets out of the closet to clean some of the mess up. All but five
of us were very ill.
a call to the police succeeded in getting a doctor to the house
and he concluded that we had food poisoning. Soon many of our guests
began heading home, still feeling quite ill.
when my mother starting crying. I assured her that next year she
could cook the ENTIRE meal.
year we had duck.