Wednesday, 14 December 2011
‘Tis the Season for gathering
Christmas time --- What comes to mind is getting together with family. Not necessarily the family in which one was raised. More often people who have a special significance for you.
Last week on a night when the winter gale blew trees sideways, tore slate tiles from the roofs, and the snow spirits danced in circles in Huntly Square, Amber and I went to the Huntly Area Cancer Support Centre’s Christmas party. Usually I’m allergic to parties and have to be dragged out to them. So many words get thrown about that mean little and are quickly forgotten, that I tend to zone out. But not this time. This was the first Christmas season with my new, extended family. There were volunteers I knew from Thursday afternoons at the Centre. Some had a recent bout with cancer, and were still undergoing therapy. Some I met for the first time.
Fiona, Magda and Bobbie lay out a beautiful spread for us. The punch bowl was filled with sweet but lethal punch . Alistair made sure that our wine glasses were filled. And so once the food and wine took hold we all felt like singing. Liz Hunter led off with several beautiful solos of Christmas carols, and then we joined in. Her angelic voice made ours sound a bit raspy but no one seemed to mind. Or appeared particularly self-conscious.
We traded many stories that night. Pam Heinemeier apparently lives in the house where George MacDonald spent his early life. When I was much younger his fantasy books cast their spell on me. I still regard him as a mentor. We talked about how the railway line first came to Huntly, about several springs in the Huntly area that traditionally have curative properties. Ian Clive Hunter, an artist who lives in Andalusia, described his work and religious Spanish art.
We'd have stayed longer, but the howling wind outside let us know it was time to go. And so, after saying our good-byes, we went off into the swirling snow.