December 29, 1997 - I’m late, I’m late, I’m really, really late!

Well, here it is that time of year yet again. I just put a CD into the computer and Bing Crosby is Dreaming of a White Christmas. I’m not sure about where you are but here, we are based in the reality of the white stuff right up to our knees. Dad figures he won’t be spending much time in the woods, the ground is not frozen and to take the tractor in would guarantee getting mired.

Anyway, I digress…you know me I never find it easy to stay on track. How did the year begin? Is what I’m thinking of what happened this past year or is it perhaps another place in time? I am beginning to wonder… where is my mind?

First let’s begin with the people in our lives. Dad continues to keep busy …last year with no snow he cut about 55 cord of word; continues to grow those lovely fresh veggies we enjoy all summer and his usual winter crop. Dad is well and one sure sign of that is…try phoning him sometime …he’s off to a concert in Saint John, or a Sunday drive (destination - anywhere in the province), looking at new vehicles (the lease is up soon), visiting Irma and Eddie on the Miramachi or on the road between his two daughters. (We have been known to have little lists for “Daddy” to do.) Not bad for some one who turned 81 on the 15th of December. In fact, Janet and I say it takes the two of us to keep up with him.

“Mady” keeps busy too. She still devotes a lot of her time to the Charlotte County Cancer Society and plans are already underway for the County-wide campaign for 1998. “Mady” also had a very close friend die this year…losing friends is not easy. Unfortunately, she came down with a really bad cold and couldn’t be with us at Christmas…so we sent her a meal on wheels. She did do her usual Christmas Eve…but obviously was not feeling very peppy.

Blaine is the member of our family who is a worker of the 90’s. What does that mean? It means he has full time employment (almost) due to his diversity of skills, willingness to pitch in, and sense of humor (although we do warn him to remember to think “politically correct”).

Jeff and I? Sometimes we think our lives get busier every year. Although lately we’ve been thinking it isn’t that our lives our busier but it just takes us longer …to think, to make decisions, to accomplish tasks, etc.

In January I decided to have pneumonia again, after all I hadn’t had it for almost two years. (Fortunately this year coming up is an off year.) I was pleased as I have actually built up my immune system thanks to those organically-grown, food -sourced vitamins from Shaklee. I was at home for 5 days, hospital for 5 days, home for three days and back to work. There was a particular nasty strain of it travelling through St. Andrews. I am pleased mine was only 13 days ..some people months later were still dragging their fannies. Now mind you stubbing my big left toe has caused me more grief than you would believe. I knew someday I would pay for being a KLUTZ. It appears that I have a bone infection where I broke a piece of the bone in my great left toe. Doctors may describe it as my great toe but believe me it is anything but great…except great big which means I have to stuff it into most pairs of shoes. Anyway, Jeff and I had our usual fun time in Samoset except he bent over the first day we were there and ‘threw his back’…talk about two old crocks.

This year was the year of houseguests. Probably next year we won’t see anyone. It all began in June when friends who had moved back to St. Andrews from Toronto decided to renovate their bathroom. The became very fond of our deluxe accommodations. (Well, we didn’t have a house full of carpenters and plumbers. The real draw - a working bathroom.) Then the Howson-Jans came and stayed at Chamcook Lodge and the Howsons with us. As a childless couple having the Howson-Jans was a hoot. They have four really nice kids…who kept us entertained for two weeks. Our hats are off to all of you parents as it is an never-ending job – commiserating with Christopher when Kimee scared him with her bouncy self, congratulating them on their game of badminton, cooking and the toughest task for the kids? Blessing that casserole.

Then while the Howsons were here our friend Vange from Vancouver and a mutual friend from Fredericton came for a couple of days. They only could stay for a couple of days…drat. That is a gab fest that covers many topics and always results in a good giggle and a cleansing cry. Always amazes me how with some friends that the time between visits may be long but the getting back in the groove takes next to no time.

Then with accommodations overbooked in St. Andrews friends needed an extra bed for a couple of weeks for the overflow. Then Ferd from New York arrived to spend a couple of weeks with us. Ferd reminds me of Dad …the wisdom of age to enjoy the days…and the rest of the time…let’s party. He keeps us in a whirl of evenings out to try all the local eateries. Well, of course we go, it wouldn’t be polite to refuse his invitations. Do we miss Ferd – you bet but we need the time to rest…our constitution is not up to his busy schedule.

Company started in June and ended Labour Day. Now Aunty, forget all those oh, dears…we loved having you. Anyway, we have a rule with company…if you can’t look after yourself there is not much point in coming to stay with us. Here you get a clean bed, food in the fridge and if not the grocery store is just around the corner. If you don’t see what you need it could be one of two things…you haven’t looked in the right spot or we don’t have it.

Jeff and I lost a good friend too. Peter Williamson…Peter’s been in our lives during our married life and was a friend to each of us. I have lost my friend who called me Ardeth Honey…and I my Petey Poo. I used to have quite a few people who would drop in to visit…Peter was just about the last.

Janet continues to enjoy her wee really is a pet. Work is …well, suffice to say work has its negative moments. From my vantage point it seems that government workers miss a great sense of belonging and contributing to an organization that small business people promote. I don’t bother phoning Janet the first two weeks of the month because she is busy almost every night with all the organizations that she belongs to – IODE, Group Home, and church related ones.

I don’t belong to any organizations as it can be difficult when they want to come before the Foundation for funding. Although I do volunteer for our local community cable television and am an ex-officio member of the Grants Committee for the Fundy Community Foundation. With other organizations I will and do volunteer for specific projects - like writing the scripts for fashion shows and emceeing for them.

I also have a part-time business with Shaklee which keeps me busy. I find it interesting that I started out in Nursing and have come full circle dealing with homeopathic food supplementation. I can honestly say that vitamins have helped me. My next project is to go on an anti-Candida regime…eliminating bad bacteria from my system and replacing it with good bacteria. Good bacteria is killed from frequent use of antibiotics (sounds like me) and steroids…not me. I am hopeful that just maybe my toe may cure itself during this regime.

Work continues to be fulfilling. It is so great to work for nice people doing fun things …like giving away money to worthy projects carried out by energetic worthy people. I realize and count my many blessings that I have such a job.

We had our usual fun sing-song this year. In fact, it was our 17th annual. This means that the 20th annual will be in the year 2000 along with, yes, you guessed it the Thornton Family Reunion. Janet and I will soon get off our duffs and be in touch with one and all to lay some concrete plans for this.

Christmas Day, other than missing “Mady” was a very relaxed day. We are pleased that the Hastey’s join us on this day. (The Hastey and Emerson families have spent part of Christmas Day together for as long as I can remember.)

We also had other visitors this year – Floyd & Debbie Stearns who were in Bar Harbour. Maine for the weekend came to Canada - picked up Mabel & Ritchie and his niece “Izzy” and came to dinner. “Izzy”, Mabel and friends came down for the Christmas Candlelight Tour and had supper with me and a private view of our house before they headed out on the Tour. Oh we had our usual Thanksgiving together with the family. Once again Jeff took us on a fall foliage trip and then back to the house for pot luck.

I know we did more – like Aunt Ina’s birthday, a few trips, etc. However, I must end …Jeff joins me in sending each and everyone of you our best wishes for health, happiness and peace in your life. Someone asked my why I would bother to send out my cards this late…but it wouldn’t be Christmas if we didn’t keep in touch. Keep those cards and letters coming back.

We are now connected. Our e-mail address is: Our regular old address is still 235 Queen Street, St. Andrews, N. B., E0G 2X0 and our phone number is 506-529-8927. Keep in touch….Happy New Year!