Date: Received Nov. 10, 2008
By Linda Elder Walsh
A Christmas Story
Walsh, Rosalind Linda Elder
It was the winter of 1946 and my first year in Nfld, I was 19, my husband, and our four-week- old baby girl were about to celebrate our first Christmas together. During the six years of the War, we did not have any of the good things associated with the Christmas season. Indeed, I could scarcely remember what they were. Besides, back then we really did not celebrate Christmas in Scotland, New Year was the festive time, or Hogmanay, as we called it.
My husband was very keen to show me how Christmas was celebrated in Nfld, and that I should have the greatest Christmas possible. We lived in cold water flat above a store; all of our cooking was done on a Number 7 ideal cook-stove, very primitive by today’s standards. He had landed an excellent job, and that, coupled with the birth of our new baby girl, made us feel that life could not be better. We planned to save towards a home of our own and increase our little family.
For weeks before Christmas, he kept smuggling packages into our small apartment, storing them under the bed. I never peeked; it never occurred to me that they could be gifts. On the afternoon of Christmas Eve, he arrived home from the office with a huge turkey dangling by its feet. In his arms, he carried bags of groceries, a pineapple, coconut, cranberries, jaffa oranges, tangerines, dark cake and vegetable of every description.
A box of Christmas crackers, mince pies, eggnog, chocolates, every conceivable type of Christmas fare. I was at a loss to find places to store it all. On Christmas morning he had me sit by the tree, he piled all of his gifts around me. I was overwhelmed by the amount he had gathered everything from a silk nightie to a pie pan, plus a gold locket and bracelet. It took ages to open it all. He said, “This one is for 1940 etc., and for all the years you have missed.” I had knitted him a sweater and socks, my first attempt at cable stitch, the sweater was too wide but he wore it for years anyway.
He stoked the ideal cook- stove, which was also our only source of heat; the turkey was roasted to perfection. It was a wonderful dinner, the best we had ever tasted, and our little Christmas tree in the corner of the kitchen with its twinkling lights was a beautiful sight. That evening, after the baby had settled down for the night we sat by the window and gazed out over the rooftops. The snow was deep and as soft as giant marshmallows.
As we watched, we listened to carols on the radio. On the east coast of Newfoundland, it snowed a great deal. We eventually had five children and our own home, the years passed all too quickly. He has gone now but I shall always remember the most joyous Christmas ever, and my own dear Santa Claus