Sign up for our free weekday bulletin.

GUEST COLUMN: Christmases past: turkey, Uncle Gord and cheating at Euchre            

Published on

Nadine Wark

When Christmas memories come to mind, I am transported back to a time of simple pleasures with an assortment offamily – parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles and pets.

Nadine Wark
Nadine Wark

When my grandparents moved from Corunna to Alvinston, it was the start of many holiday traditions that I fondly recall. My take-charge mother would pack the family up for Christmas Eve arrival in Alvinston, returning on Boxing Day. My father drove. It was less than an hour away but seemed like a long journey, so we played games like ‘I Spy’ or ‘Are we there yet?’

Christmas Eve we would climb the long staircase to the bedrooms, where sleep would elude us and we would put our ears to the floor vents to try and hear the adults say what Santa would be bringing. They seemed to have a hotline to the North Pole!

Christmas Day beneath the tree was a frantic scene with the adults trying to keep order among a flurry of paper, ribbons, and excited kids. Santa would always bring new board games along with pyjamas, slippers, toques, scarves and mittens, along with some of the popular toys of the day.

The kitchen scene was the same every year – the women preparing dinner with the aroma of pies fresh from the oven and later the smells of turkey. It seemed the bird went into the oven in the morning and cooked all day, with the oven door opening and closing several times and the bird poked, prodded and basted. Somehow it tasted just right!

Sometime during the afternoon, Uncle Gord would make the very important announcement, “Well, let’s get out the clubs.” It was time to do battle using discarded wrapping paper rolls. I can’t recall any adults participating other than Uncle Gord. The chase was on as we raced throughout the house pummeling one another on the head as hard as we could.

The year the end of a flyswatter drew blood from my sister’s arm was very upsetting to Grandma. “Well, it’s time to put away the clubs,” announced Uncle Gord. Game over till next year.

The afternoon was the time for some of the adults to nap while us kids played Snakes and Ladders, Checkers and Snap. We also enjoyed watching Grandpa crack nuts.

At dinnertime, a card table was set up for the kids with the adults at the main table. We had a birds-eye view of the adults ‘pigging out,’ especially the men. After dinner, they would play Euchre complete with yelling and cheating. However, there was a lot at stake. The loser had to do the dishes and many times an uncle was at the sink wearing Grandma’s apron.

Just when everyone’s stomachs seemed to settle, a voice could be heard coming from the kitchen, yelling, “Who wants a turkey sandwich?” Surprisingly, several made their way to the kitchen table. The pies also made another appearance.

The older generations in my family are gone now. But I can still hear their voices as I recall those Christmases of long ago.

Nadine Wark is a retired office administrator and freelance writer who resides in Sarnia






More like this