I remember a traditional childhood Christmas with my loving parents, my big sisters Jane and Sarah, my littlest sister Irene and most of all my big brother Samuel whom I adored with all my heart.
I remember another family who was spending the winter with us. Another family with many small children. I remember the day, the evening before this big, big event.
Now, closing my eyes, I hear my father talking very loud about the beaver meat, the bear meat that has to be cooked all day to simmer in the biggest pots we owned. Talking about the bear fat that was still sitting outside in the tenderflake pail that he had previously preserved from the fall.
Talking about my mother’s blueberry jam that was also in those pails, still sitting outside, blueberry jam that was made by my mother’s skillful, loving hands. Blueberries that we all helped to pick, remembering how on this eventful occasion, while picking them, we would taste our fruitful labours.
Now, I see my father going in and out of the teepee, getting and bringing things, moving around very fast in his usual manner.
Now, I smell the freshly picked boughs, still a bit damp from the snow that coated them from the first snowfall. All around the teepee they were laid out to cushion our bodies and minds. To smell and to hear the sparkling sound of wood burning in our beat-up woodstove that was in the centre of our teepee.
Seeing the teapot beside the old beat-up woodstove knowing in my heart how good, how delicious the freshly boiled tea is that was in the teapot at the moment.
Sitting now beside my loving, caring mother busily making the batter that was supposed to boil all day in a big pot, to make the Christmas cake.
The batter looked so delicious because of so many black raisins and seeing her frying up white sugar to put in her batter. I was about to jump into her huge big, batter bowl.
Seeing, smelling bannock slowly cooking on top of our beat-up woodstove. Little black stones located underneath the frying pan for the bannock not to burn.
All day and all evening, I saw many people being so busy preparing for something so special, or someone so special.
Helping each other with joy, cooking, chopping wood, getting the teepee to look just perfect to welcome these special people. I remember a nice tablecloth with red flowers printed on the material. This was kept in a secret place and only used for very, very special occasions.
Now my memories fade, no memories of going to bed, going to sleep.
But I recall the morning after so well in my heart. Opening my drowsy eyes to a small tied-up brown package hanging just above my head, tied to one of the poles. Oh yeah, I was sleeping with my big sister Jane.
I got up so fast, hearing my big sister Jane’s voice, not paying attention. I grabbed the small package, pulling it so hard I think at that moment the string broke. I fell into the warmth of my goose-down blanket, with my big sister Jane. I was so happy, so excited, at that special moment, I was the only human being existing in this world with my small tied-up brown package.
After I untied the string, inside the brown package was a lonely chocolate bar. I think it was an “Oh Henry” or a “Snack bar.” This lonely chocolate bar was my pride and joy for that special Christmas moment.
I felt very blessed and very special, and very, very rich.
Now, my heart is full of sadness, my tears are starting to flow. Because my heart is very happy for this special Christmas journey I took with all you people who are reading my traditional Christmas story.
Once Upon a Traditional Childhood Christmas has passed into time, only to live in my heart.
I cry now for my traditional childhood, that special joyous time of my life to have been blessed with or given my traditional childhood.
I cry now for my loving, caring parents to have known them for only a brief moment on this earth, 10 years of my life. But they have left me the values of love, honesty, family togetherness and that one special magic Christmas that I will cherish forever in my heart.à
I cry now for my heritage that is slowly starting to fade because of a materialist world of money, of competing over who will have the biggest expensive gift this year. I cry now for Once Upon a Traditional Childhood Christmas that had taught me the truest of Christmases.
Dedicated with love to my very, very special children, Jody George House, Angela Bertha House, Derek Willy Daniel House and to our very, very special angel who has taught us to love ourselves, my grandmother Kyla Caroline House.
And also to all the people who have experienced a traditional childhood Christmas, and most of all to the young people who only can hear it through stories.
And especially, especially to the older generations who have taught us “a traditional Christmas.”