The Naysayers (weathermen) have been predicting a "green", and I do not mean environmentally friendly Christmas...
In South Simcoe, an area dotted with small towns and rolling rural landscape Northwest of the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), we really like our "White Christmases"...
Last night was the final Dart Night of the Tottenham Dart League of 2011. Helen and I arrived a little later than our usual 7:20 p.m. and I tried to throw a few darts with my brace on. There was a slight twinge at my wrist on release, but I couldn't get comfortable with my brace and soon abandoned it. My darts were, in a word, terrible, even considering my lowered expectations.
A raucous crowd (you have to be there to appreciate the cacophony as 72 (maybe a few more) people filing in can create in a room with 12 dart boards and wobbly pops), even more so than usual, was in a good mood. Again, the friendliness and real sense of community is in no small part one of the things that drew us back to a small rural town. The evening started well for Helen and I as our ticket was drawn for the 50/50 draw!
Helen's team, now in third place, was on board one and my team, now third from the bottom, was on board three, which was nice. One of my teammates, Bob Legault, stepped up and threw the bull and chalked our games for me, lessening the stress on my wrist.
The League executive treated us to Pizza and Wings from Firehouse Pizza, a local establishment, and the extended break resulted in a longer night (and probably a general lowering of the quality of darts thrown). Helen's team won 4-1, not unexpected, but much more of a surprise is that we won, 4-1 also, are largest margin of victory this year with our full team (we did win last week 5-0, but that was with Red Creswicke, a very good player, that I first played against more than twenty years ago in the Toronto Intercity Dart League, sparing for me). I'm sure my team was secretly hoping that I wouldn't be able to play and that he would spare for us again ;-)
When the night finally ended, at about 10:15 p.m., Helen and I noticed that there was freezing rain falling as we walked to our car. Now, freezing rain can be nasty, both for walking and driving, and we were wishing, against odds, for a White Christmas...
As we drove the approximately 4 miles north to our home, a little "miracle" took place, the freezing rain turned to snow flakes... We tried not to get excited (Helen loves snow and SNOW DAYS - she is a teacher ;-) and knew that the weather was too warm for the snow to stay on the ground. We arrived home and Helen went to bed, while I took care of some last minute tasks online.
We awoke this morning to our son, Alec, running to our room and jumping on our bed (he is getting too big and heavy for this, or are we getting too old and frail?) and screaming that there was snow on the ground.
Its not much, and definitely not what we had last year!
... but "beggars can't be choosers", we are happy that it is "white"!
The mood of the Smith household was cheerful as we prepared for our days. Alec was having a sleepover at Nana's and Poppa's and would be joined later in the evening by his cousins. We were relishing the peace and quiet ;-)
I know that Vi, my mother-in-law, will not be nearly as excited to see snow, but that her disappointment will be tempered by the knowledge that she is only two sleeps away from a 3 week trip to Scotland to celebrate her 80th Birthday with her surviving brothers.
All in all, the next week is going to fly by, but seeing the snow has given us a jolt of Christmas Spirit. Spending time with my clients and friends over the last while, and spending time with Family and Loved Ones over the next few days, giving to others (and not necessarily "things"), and appreciating the upcoming celebration of the birth of our Saviour, Jesus is what Christmas is all about.
We have noticed a real change in Alec's behaviour in the last few weeks, our 70% angel / 30% "devil" child seems to be morphing into a 95% angel / 5% "devil" boy =) Perhaps, by the Grace of God, he is learning the lessons that we, his parents, and his extended family (family and school) have been trying to teach him.
... or perhaps he just wants Santa to be good to him ;-) He seems to be thinking much more of others, and there feelings, for Helen and I, this would be the perfect Christmas present.
May all of you have a Holy and very Merry Christmas, and a Happy and Prosperous New Year!