XMAS 1993 Those we hold most dear never truly leave us...They live on in the kindness they showed, the comfort they shared and the love they brought into our lives.

By now most of you know that my Mother died on July 22nd. She was diagnosed with liver cancer on June 25th and between these two dates our lives Were put into FAST FORWARD. During that time Mum never wavered in the kindness she showed to others, the comforting she gave others and yes, love she brought into our lives those last few days as she always had.

Miss her? Everyday and sometimes twice but the reality is that unlike so many people each of us have so many happy memories, even the missing is OK with joyful thoughts.

As for the rest of the year it has been full of joys and sorrows. January we celebrated our 12th Anniversary and atypical of me most of January and February I combatted cold after cold. March was spent catching up on all the things I didn't get done and towards the end we hosted a wedding in our living room for Vange and Harry. What a fun time - it was a very intimate wedding with them, Vanges sister and brother as witnesses, a piano player, photographer (friend) and us. Us'ns got invited as we clearly saw it was to be small but figured if they had the wedding in our home they'd have to invite us!

April was our week in Samoset and then on to Calgary to see a heart specialist who gave me good news - my venal output has improved to the point where I should start a fitness regime (I've tried), lose weight (I've lost some) and the good news generally gave me a new lease on life.

May was spent getting the shop open, a Ranking Family convert, Mother's Day parties, June was Fathers Day and salmon done on the "barbie" and then life became a blur.

The one outstanding feeling from that whole blur is the inordinate kindnesses, comforting and live that family and friends showed us. It makes a tough time bearable. I was at "Mady's" with our friend Kay Walsh when Dr. Pinder phoned me with Mums diagnosis. God Bless mothers-in-laws who make comforting noises when you cry (night after night) and everyone who turned to and helped us - baking goodies, doing errands for us they we seemed to stunned to accomplish, We will be the rest of our lives trying in some small way to be kind, comforting and loving to them.

You may read and hear on the news that people kill, maim, abuse but within our family of friends that is just not so. I know Cousin Ruth and her girls must feel the same. Cousin Maurice died in April and our families having always spent Christmas night together in Rolling Dam and this year we start a new Christmas tradition of dinner at our house Christmas night.

In September we got the news that Janet had to have hip surgery, yes, again, her fifth. October was a big month, Jeff and I decided to move into the whole house - and here is it the 15th of December (Dad's 77th birthday) and the workman still aren't out - but do we look spiffy, well in places.

Janet had her surgery after Thanksgiving and last week she saw her
specialist and its on to weight bearing with crutches. "Mady", Jeff and I took our usual trip to Ellsworth - a few days to rest, shop and LOUNGE. I also decided to close the shop -too much effort for no return. It's been a year of biggies.

We celebrated Dads birthday last week with a buffet bash in Rolling Dam. It was great fun - I told Dad it was his present - didn't have to worry where to put it, wonder why we bought it or need dusting.

November was more work on the house - translated that means by now every room in the house was in chaos and covered with dust mixed with paint fumes.

Blaine worked at the Algonquin Hotel this summer and before the Hotel closed for the season he had another job. His early spring treat is to have another hernia surgery. Naturally, he's really excited and I hope surgery isn't catching in this family.

"Mady's" been busy with bridge, volunteering for Civic Trust, and as a Tourism Councillor once a week at our local Tourist Bureau (she's a natural with her gift of gab), baking (showing her practical kindnesses to others) and had her cousin Collen for three weeks.

I've been doing some volunteer work for the new St. Andrews Community Channel - my big title on the last series on Health was Associate Producer - that meant I made all the phone calls to book the interviewees. I'm also working with a group of volunteers to establish the Fundy Community Foundation. This organization would enable those of us in Charlotte County to be self-directed rather that waiting or expecting government to do it for us. My other fun project in early spring was to put on an old-fashioned school concert to help raise money for our new playground. Thanks to a whole group of friends and new friends we raised almost $700.

Here it is almost Christmas, my letter is almost written, I've made a dark fruit cake, Christmas Pudding for Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without them, the cards should be sent soon, the wrapping and gift-buying , who knows, and before long the year will be over. I can't say I will miss it.

Jeffs business continues to chug along. He too keeps busy with his volunteer work with the Chamber of Commerce, serves on a provincial board for Ambulance Services, and Sunbury Shores, just to name a few.

Dad, well Dad is Dad, kind, comforting and loving. He as always keeps busy and at his recent check up the Doctor gave him a clean bill of health. Well, except he does seem to have a bit of a gall bladder problem so had laid off baked beans for breakfast.

To each of you - may your life be full of people who are kind,
comforting and loving...it makes life a joy. Merry Christmas.