One of the images I choose for this first run of Five Blue Buttons Christmas cards is an image of an older couple in a traditional horse and sleigh being pulled by two strong horses. On the back of the photo is written “Mom and Dad & Jerry and Frank, Manitoba”.
This evening I spoke with my Mom and she told me of the memories that came flooding back to her after looking at this image. My maternal Mahar grandparents brought up their family in a small community in eastern PEI called Souris West. My grandfather’s parents lived nearby in another small community called Rollo Bay, which was also the location of the Catholic Church my Mom’s family attended.
There was a rough country road through the woods connecting my grandfather’s farm in Souris West with his parent’s homestead in Rollo Bay. In the winter especially, this road was often used by my grandparents to traverse to and fro both church and the Mahar homestead in Rollo Bay via horse and sleigh.
When Mom looked at my image entitled “Jerry and Frank” she saw her Gammie and Gampa Mahar. They too had a buffalo rug they used in the sleigh and bells attached to their horses. My Mom recalled how they would anticipate their grandparent’s arrival on Christmas Day: “They wouldn’t have presents for us; we were just excited to see them and have them with us on Christmas”. My Mother also recalls her father opening the back door and asking the kids “Do you hear the bells?” signaling their imminent arrival.
It was a simpler time. It was a time when my Mom as a child would be excited to get to go all the way to neighbouring Rollo Bay to visit her grandparents. This evening I am glued to the television watching news of the terrorist attacks in Paris. My friend Beth is in Paris with her mother, staying blocks away from where the hostages were being held. The world increasingly has become a much smaller place. I am increasingly left wondering if this is a good thing?
It has left me being nostalgic for a time when a trip to Rollo Bay was a big event.