Saturday, December 24, 2005
My Favourite Christmas
As a young tyke of eight, my family moved to Victoria from my birthplace in Montréal. (My parents decided that a place where tanks prowled through the streets at night, soldiers with pointy bayonets manned street corners during the day, terrorists were kidnapping and killing politicians, and civil rights were revoked at the stroke of a Prime Minister's pen was probably not a good place to live. But I digress. And worse, I'm dating myself.) The one thing I remember most about Montréal was the snow. Every winter, Montréal would be covered in a fluffy white eiderdown that would last from November to April. (Okay, so after six months the novelty was wearing off, even for me.) Winter wasn't winter without snow, and neither was Christmas. Picture postcard time, right? Chestnuts roasting on a bough of holly. Or something like thatwhenehn we moved, I knew only one thing about Victoria. It doesn't snow here. I was going to experience my first Green Christmas. In fact Victoria averages 1 White Christmas every 25 years. As Christmas approached, I had a real problem getting into the festive spirit. It just wasn't going to be Christmas without snow on the ground. Before going to bed on Christmas Eve, I took one last look out the living room window. Green. And brown. I trundled off to bed and like all eight year-old kids, spent a good ten minutes sleeping, and the rest of the night wondering what Santa was going to bring us. Just after four o'clock, I could stand the anticipation no longer, and started my carefully worked out procedure for waking up my parents. First, I started coughing. Nothing wakes a parefaster thanhan a kid coughing in the middle of the night. Next, I went to the bathroom, being sure to feign some sort of trouble with the toilet to plausibly explain why I flushed it five times. Returning to my bedroom, I made sure I knocked over an unbreakable but noisy object. (Again, another sure way to wake up your parents.) Finally for good measure, I stepped on the cat. (No, not really, but I made you laugh, didn't I?) After being abused in this way for half an hour, my family finally relented, and they got up. We went to the living room, and, sure enough, the tree was almost buried beneath Santa's gifts, but I was still a little let-down because, after all, Christmas isn't Christmas without snow. I went to the window to take a peek anyway and -- my eyes must have turned as big as basketballs -- there was six inches of snow on the ground! I couldn't believe it! A cold front had blown in unexpectedly overnight and was dumping snow on the city. I probably would have kept staring if I hadn't seen some poor guy struggling down the street. My dad realized it was the paper boy and ran out side and gave him five bucks, which was really nice considering we didn't subscribe. That was my best Christmas ever. And of course, a day later all the snow was gone.