I’ve been sitting here listening to Christmas carols, and remembering back … way back. A couple Christmases stand out above the others.
When I was a kid (that was a long time ago!) we lived on Angus Drive on the corner of 45th Avenue. Dad had two lots, a half acre. The house was on one, then on the 45th side there was another lot, all in grass, with rose bushes across the front. Next door to that lived Dr. and Mrs. Leslie. He was a dentist. They didn’t have any human kids, but they had five dogs — four beautiful black labs: Pal, Dawn, Nigger and Rags. (In those days that was politically correct.) There was a big kennel outside, and the dogs were taken out to play in the yard when Leslies were sitting out there. The fifth dog was Goldie Leslie, a little cocker spaniel, and he was allowed in the house!
We lived there from 1926 until we moved to the Cariboo in 1931. I remember presents that Mrs. Leslie gave me at Christmas. One was a photograph album, with some pictures already in it (including this one I’ve cropped to show you.).
And the third Christmas she gave me a small watercolour painting of Goldie Leslie, which still sits on my book case where I see it every day. I’ve had that for 80 years! I told you I was going way back!
I was allowed in her house, too! I helped her bake cookies … you know, watching and tasting. I watched her sew upstairs in her sewing room. And when she was gardening, she taught me the names of all the flowers … but I never could pronounce nemesium. She would always tell me when it was time for me to go home!
Years later, when our boys were small, we would visit her at Christmas, taking her some of my home baked cookies.
She was a very wonderful influence on my younger years, and I will never forget her.