As I write this, Central and Eastern Ontario and Quebec are bracing for the first storm of the winter. Freezing rain is, unfortunately, promised, but perhaps there will be some snow as well. Freezing rain I could live without, but snow would be nice as we approach Christmas. Christmas! Always a happy time, and particularly so for Raymond and me (and, I hope, my mum and siblings) this year. We (that is, Raymond and me and my mum and my siblings and at least some of my sibings’ children) will be spending Christmas at the Manse. And it will be the first time the Sedgwicks have been there on Christmas Day since Dec. 25, 1974. That, people, is a long time ago.
The house is (as those who have been in it can attest, and as everyone else can tell from the photos I post) rather bare-bones inside at the moment, but it has everything we truly need to have company and host Christmas: heat, and basic cooking facilities, a highly functional bathroom, and almost enough furniture. (Though we will probably have to borrow a couple of chairs for Christmas dinner.)
And in our lightning-quick and very busy visit to the Manse this weekend just ended, Raymond and I got a lot done to prepare for Christmas. First and foremost, a tree!
We found a beautiful balsam fir at the Madoc Dairy, a business owned and run by the Tom Burnside family, who also have Christmas-tree farms. Their selection of trees – in addition to balsam fir, there is Scotch pine and white and blue spruce – was amazing, and we were thrilled with the one we bought. It’s just the right height, and perfectly shaped. We haven’t put it up yet – that’s next weekend’s project – but I will post photos when we do. No one will be surprised to hear that I have, wearing my bossy boots, decided that it must be in the same corner of the living room where the Christmas tree almost always was (except for one year when we must have been suffering from temporary insanity, and put it in the dining room) when I was growing up at the Manse.
But the preparations don’t end there! We have ordered a turkey from the Wood family farm on Countryman Road south of Tweed, where we got our outstanding turkey for Thanksgiving this year. We have put up the beautiful wreath made of fresh evergreens that was made to order for us on our recent vacation in Maine. We have transported one load of Christmas-tree decorations and sundry Christmas stuff from Montreal to the Manse, and will take a second load (including all the Christmas CDs – from Bing Crosby to Boney M and pretty much everyone else in between, including The Chieftains and the Rat Pack and the Blind Boys of Alabama and of course the Charlie Brown soundtrack by Vince Guaraldi – because my siblings and I watched A Charlie Brown Christmas [in black and white] every year on our old TV at the Manse back when that show was new, if you can believe it) next weekend.
We are so excited about Christmas at the Manse!