XMAS 1995 HERE IT IS....the latest from the lives of Jeff and Ardeth Holmes.

Our Group of Seven continues to meet on a regular basis which has proven to be a real winner. It's like an old-fashioned quilting bee where we sit around and gab, offer advice (even it it isn't asked for), learn how to do new crafts, and some of us enjoy reflexology massages. Eat- did I mention eat? Jeff marvels that I can leave at noon and not get home until midnight!!

In January Jeff and I hosted a 50th wedding anniversary party for friends here in St. Andrews. Through the years they have entertained us annually at Christmas and it seemed like to right thing to do. We sent out about 50 invites (100 people) telling them of the surprise party, invited the couple to drinks and dinner. All was in order until noon-time the day of, when the husband phoned to say he was sorry but his wife had a terrible cold and was in bed. He didn't like to leave her so apologized for having to cancel at this late date. I was stunned listening to Jeff's side of the conversation. All I could think was - how do you get in touch with 80+ people to cancel? No can't do that. What about all this food? Can you have an anniversary party and the bride and groom not show up? Jeff, big guy that he is got off the phone and said "you'll have to go tell him what is happening to see if he can drop in and we'll send someone to stay with her while he comes here". Gee...thanks Jeff. I went - you haven't lived until you've seen the reverse of all my thoughts go across someone else's face - I wonder who's coming? How many? Think of the preparation? We can't disappoint them!

All I can say is that at 6PM they arrived at our door, looking great (feeling lousy), they stayed for dinner and didn't leave until 10:30PM. The expression "Real Troopers" comes to mind.


And then it was April. The Annual Themadel Foundation meeting and our trip to Samoset. My birthday and the big news....Jeff sold the ambulance business on April 3rd. After 27 years he decided it was time to take a break from the constant stress of the phone ringing demanding instant response in a crisis situation. One would think it would make a big change in our lives but the summer season was unusually busy for Jeff and all we could do was say "how would he have survived if he'd still had the
ambulance". We are just now appreciating a bit calmer life.

Of course, if you are going to sell off one thing one must pick up another so we now have a 28 passenger mini coach. So several times this year I have waved Jeffy good-by while he steams off with different groups. The first was a group of young people from Grand Manan to New York City.

In June I participated in a memorial service for Kathleen Lazare who had operated the Pansy Patch, an antique shop and bed and breakfast, here in St. Andrews. While it was a sad time it was also an uplifting time to share happy memories with her husband Michael.

The end of July Jeff and I attended Kate Turners wedding. It was one of those picture perfect days. The weather was gorgeous, the Bride and Groom were gorgeous, the food was great , the company too ...a real laid back easy day. (I'm sure the parents and a few others who had responsibilities didn't feel that way but we sure did!)

Sunday, July 6th we went to a Dedication Service in Rolling Dam. We, along with many others donated money to have new windows installed. The windows are huge - tall and wide. Cousin Ronnie gathered us all together financially and the Emersons purchased a window in Grammie and Grampies memory. It too was a beautiful day with Aunt Mury inviting us back to Birney Lake. From that came the call that 1996 be a reunion of the descendants of Harry & "Della" Emerson.

Not to be outdone the Thornton side of the family are gathering too. This shindig will be in Peabody, Mass. I always feel sorry for people who do not have a family or worse still, don't know the family they have.

On a Sunday in September a group of us gathered to do the Island Hop - St. Andrews to Deer Island to Campobello. It was a brisk fall day but a real treat. Lunch was at Lupin Lodge.

Thanksgiving saw the return of Uncle Herb, Aunt Aileen and Uncle Ken. We really enjoy having them with us. When they are here, for me, it means a renewal of memories of Mum ...of all the happy times we have spent and continue to spend together as a family.
Think of the people in this world who have no one to share anything with.

Aunt Mildred was here for a visit and we got to meet Shelley's husband Rick (he has our sense of humour so fits right in). We had a great visit with all of them and look forward to seeing them in Peabody.

We've been to Ellsworth for our annual get-away with "Mady". Jeff and I drove to Montreal for my Themadel meeting on the 25th of November and wandered home via the northern part of the New England States.

On Saturday night we hosted (along with 8 other homeowners) a Candlelight House Tour. This is a fund-raiser sponsored by the local bank and this year they raisedmoney for the Charlotte County Cancer Society. As Jeff's grandparents were original members, Blaine is President, "Mady" still is active we could not refuse. (A quick way to alienate yourself with family.)

We had over 100 people through the house on Saturday night. The house was decorated top to bottom thanks to Dad who supplied us with seven trees, 5 for indoors and two for outside. Friends Phyllis Green, Muriel Carrothers helped - Dad and Janet too. We started last Sunday at 2PM and called it quits at 10! We had mantels decorated, trees trimmed, tables set, greenery in bowls, on window sills, Jeff has us lit, well, the house that is....and we had two spare rooms full of Teddy Bears. There were Teddy Bears reading, playing monopoly, drinking tea and eating cookies and honey, there was a bear nativity scene, some playing with trains, doing puzzles....and the list goes on.

Jeff and I greeted everyone at the front door dressed to the nines. Me, in my spiffy black dress and dangling faux diamond earrings. Jeff was in his tuxedo with red cummerbund and bow tie. It went like this ...Ardeth "Welcome to our home, please come in". Those who knew us swung their gaze upon Jeff...reactions to him ranged from "WOW" , "Hi gorgeous", etc. A few thoughtful souls swung their gaze back to say with their eyes still glazed "Oh.......you look nice too, Ardeth". Their is something about an almost 50 year old man with a soft face...(like it has never seen a shaver ) which when he is excited his cheeks are rosy....well, what can I say ... next time I'm wearing a tuxedo...or better still an old bathrobe and my hair in curlers. Somehow I don't think too many will notice.

We've done the usual....I' m still involved with Fundy Community Foundation which like any new organization is slow getting going. (Although to date we have raised $25,000 before going before the general public for endowment funding.) Jeff is still actively
involved with Sunbury Shores, assisting with Chamber projects and busy developing the regular transportation side of business.

"Mady" still keeps us in goodies the year through, continues to volunteer her time to St. Andrews Civic Trust, Sunbury Shores, the Museum and the Cancer Society.

Blaine has been busy again this year working almost full-time for the Algonquin Hotel - Purchasing and Receiving during the high season and off-season at the Spa with an annual ski trip usually fitted in.

Dad had a wonderful garden again this year which means we are the recipients of lots of fresh vegetables. It is so handy being able to phone home and place part of my grocery order. We have a great deal (at least I think so) ...I place the order, it is delivered and delivery charges are miraculously waived when the squash turns into a pie or the potatoes are served with a beef dinner. It's a great deal if you can swing it.

Dad's excitement was that he had his gallbladder out. I took him to hospital early on Monday , he had his surgery about 10AM, and if he hadn't been 78 they would have kicked him out. He was fairly bright-eyed and busy -tailed. (Much more so than the call at 3AM a couple of months before that when he was having a full-scale gallbladder attack...having eaten at our house that evening. Fortunately, he is most forgiving about those sausages!!)

Janet continues to be busy and whisper the words "let's go to" and she's on her wonderful little doorstep of her own home, body in motion just waiting to jump into the car. I know because in October I phoned at 10:30AM and at 11:30 I slowed down for her to jump in as we took off to Halifax.

A Christmas letter really wouldn't be worth its salt if I neglected to mention my health. Well folks, I had my silver fillings removed in 1994 and for the first time in years...I did not have one antibiotic, a small cold which only had me in bed for two measly days , so what can I say? I've been doing some research...so watch out....I've bought books on natural medicine, one titled the Yeast Syndrome (the cause of the trip to Halifax to hear the author of the book lecture on the subject) and the vigil is not over yet.

Our flower garden bloomed into November again this year . A girlfriend from Vancouver along with her sister popped in on their way
home to NB....had a great gab with them.

I read this over and in some ways it seems pretty dull but believe me we didn't find it that way. It seems we were in constant motion and suddenly, poof another year gone.

What can I say... Christmas wouldn't be the same without the chance to sit down for a nice long chat...rather one-sided at this point but I'm hoping our mailbox will be swelling with the news from your neck of the woods.

To each and everyone of you... enjoy the time you spend with family and friends...where would we be without them.