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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 23, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta "It Says Here Instructions for a Complicated Way for Parents to Spend Christmas Eve by Aloise Buckley Heath YOU KNOW that house where, the night before Christmas, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse? Well, that wasn't our house. That was a house where mamma in her kerchief and papa in his cap could settle tiieir brains for a long winter's nap because they knew good and well that St. Nicholas was about co come down the chimney with a bound and do absolutely everything. It may come as a surprise to many people, but the fact is, St. Nicholas doesn't do one blessed thing for the Heath family. At our house and I wouldn't want this mentioned in front of just anybody Santa Claus is really Ben and me; and the period during which not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse, lasts roughly from to A.M. By six o'clock, actually, you couldn't call what goes on in our house ''stirring.'' You know the family that gathers round the hearth on Christmas Eve while Father re- reads the beloved "Christmas Firelight nickering on absorbed little faces? Baby dropping off to sleep on Well, that's not our family. hope I'm not giving anyone the impression that Ben and I are not respecters of tradition, because the fact is that we're simply aslosh with traditions. always sing Christmas carols after dinner; we always hang our stockings on the mantelpiece; we always set out cookies and milk for Santa Claus, but we justdon'thave the time to listen to Ben read "A Christmas Carol." We send sixteen-year-old Jim, who has a voice like a bull calf, into the living-room with the big children and make him read Dickens' beloved "Christmas and fourteen-year-old Pam. who has such a sharp eye and a quick hand that she can whack a small bottom while its owner is still wondering which it- trespass to commit, takes the peewees into the nursery to hear Clement C. Moore's beloved "A Visit from St. Nicholas.'1 Ben and I refill the coffee pot and proceed forthwith to the furnace room, which is where we spend Christmas Eve. Not by choice, you understand if we had a choice we'd watch "Arnahl and the Night Visitors" or take a walk or something hut because the furnace room is the only one in our house in which you can (a) store 167 different items, ranging from aeroplane: gasoline-powered to Zig-Zaw Puzzle Map; and also (b! lock. NINE OUT C- TEN of these Items, yon "understand, have to be organized or set up or assembled, and a good many of them have to be either re- constructed or re-designed from scratch. All of them must be fully understood if Christmas morning is not lo shrill with the sad cry of: "What's all that Muff supposed to and "The Ixjx says Astro-Dyno Jet, but it's just a bunch of iron or "I'll never be able to play that. The directions have too long words." All of which leaves Ben and me with the choice of working in the living-room after the last child is asleep and when you have ten children that means never or spending Christmas Eve in the furnace room. Tne furnace room is rather peaceful, actually. By the time we've opened the boxes and laid out the hammer, saw, screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, files, glue, rubber cement, safety pins, needles and thread, toothpicks for stiffening tabs that won't go into slots, crochet hooks and rubber bands for putting dolls' arms back on, Mercurochrome, Band-Aids, tranquiluers, aspirin and a dictionary, we hardly even notice the furnace which has a way of breathing like a dinosaur with croup. Jim's voice, bellowing "Sit down, or "I said QUIET" filters down to us in a soft murmur; and since the nursery is on the third floor and Pam's energy is limited, she only clatters down every now and then to tell us that Alison is blowing into Jay's ear and blaming it on Betsey, or that Alison keeps sticking her feet under Timothy and pin- ching him with her toes, or that Alison keeps muttering "moon cm the breast of the new-fallen .snow, moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow" and making all the others laugh and net silly... "Well, she thinks it's a bad word, Mother, or she .wouldn't bother to say it. You know how absolutely vulgar -_ Alison is." I do know some of rny limitations, though, so I always start with a simple thing, like "ROLLING TENNIS: A new game for home for in- stance. ROLLING TENNIS only .has about six pieces, which is practically boring to a woman who was on Dean's List the entire first semester of her sophomore year at college. The instructions are nice and short, too. The elastic steel needle, they begin... (There's no elastic steel needle in the box, but the nearest thing to it is a kind of hard, spiky thing that bends, so that must be what) musl be kept in a w ay that it sits up on the edge of the table. The trouble is, it won't stay in a way that it sits up on the edge of the table unless I hold it there, and surely the ROLLING TENNIS people couldn't mean that, could they? "Ben, tt says here..." I begin. "First things mumbles Ben, who is engaged in his annual re-establishment of diplomatic relations with the electric train, which he always can't understand something in )oPE JOHN XXIII was almost 77 years old when he began his reign in October, 1958, the oldest man to become pontiff in 200 years. Elected on the twelfth ballot, he was regarded as a transitional head of the church. But Pope John quickly dispelled such Although his pontificate was a short four and a half years in duration, he set in motion ideas and forces that continue affect not only Roman Catholics, but people oi many faith--.. There were'fivE Cbristmases in which Pope .Join troatl message to the world, messages of hope for z tetter life in unity and purpose. And with each succeeding year, ha foremost theme became more apparent Peace. A3 he gave his thoughts to mankind, he vividly outlined peace, how man has sought and violated it, how a lasting peace can be achieved, and how it must be guarded. Pope John was tormented by the thought that Christmas woulddawn upon a world in which there would still be people "without peace, without security, without religious liberty people tormented by the specter of war and famine." begged all governments to negotiate, to prornute, foster and agree to discussion "as a course of wisdom and prerlence." As another Christmas i.? reached, his stirring ideas >ra worthy of another hearing. IDords Is the Attain 'Peace 9ope John XXIII to GDankind THE BIRTH OF THE IXJRD is an announcement of unity and of peace in all the world. It is a renewed pledge of good will put to the sen ice of order, of justice and cf fraternity toward all Christian nations, come together in a common desire'for HEAR an unending Invitation to hasten our steps along the road's to Bethlehem, v.hich are the roads of peace for u.s. In the world of today, how many roads of have teen proposed arid Imposed F rorn World War H rightup to the present time, what a variety of utterances, what an of this ".acred "peace, Human fforU in the matter of universal pes'.'.makir.g far from the point where heaven and earth meet. fact is that true peace cannot come save from It has only one name: the rx-ace of Christ. It has one aspect, that improved on it by Christ who, as if to an- ticipate tr.e counterfeits of man, emphasized: "Peace I leave with you, my peace f unto you." 'John T'r." of peace is threefold: 1-W-- of the heart... an interior thing, to 'pint, ar.d :L" fnririamtrital ".f.rhtior, i-: a loving and filial dependence on the will of 'I :.ou ir.s'i': us for Thyself, O and our heart is restless till it irj 'St. Augustine p_ peace... based on the mutual and reciprocal respect for the dignity The Son of God was made man, and His redeeming act r.rit only i-Lj iii4 JIHIM rai li i 'li'tlPii k in international relations, collectivity, but also the individual man. of inttrnatiora! is, above 'ruth. Fc too t'r'-f 'rri'tiafi valid: "The inith shall make you free." r raj With thi-i come ar.tained by Cr.riittan charity. That Is. love for one's rek'ribor and one's own people ought not to be concentrated on one's self in an ex- egotism which h suspicious of another's good. 1960 WE ARE ONCE AGAIN drawn to vision of Bethlehem, to the of V.ord Incarnate, to ilis grace and truth, who desires (o win all to Himself. silence of that holy night and the contemplation of that scene of peace are most I-et us rlire'-t 'ir to R'trileherft with eyes and welcoming hearts. 1961 TO TOf, j in .n in i'jM..'.-. it r.ot v.eli to a'ld, for our greater spiritual profit, a fourUi ray, the hgnt of th.'' of Cnrist in goodness. (f look at ihe events of recent times, we might well say that in our day, fear ar.d alarrr, producing a burning fever of estrangement one from another. though i', in many cases, it is, for all that, noticeable in dealings with others, and it lead.-, to continuous, disturbance in domestic, tocial, civil and international Such an observation Is all the more tragic when one reflects that in the Creator's providential plan, men are meant to understand, to help and to complete one another fcv brotherly cooperation, by patiently overcoming differences, and by sharing the gwl3 of the earth fairly, according to charity and justice, 1962 LET F'F.ACK, lh'-n. he our objective at all tirnr-3, let in airn at ir i1 rnay '.pn-a'! the world, it from all IriatVouM harrn'ilar.'l take '.are r.ot it by that could disrupt or compromise it. Distribute-! t7 Kinz Keaturea FURNACE ROOM Is rather peaceful, a dually." the transformer of. I don't tell him that if he'd leave the train up all year round, he and the transformer wouldn'thave to go through this every Christmas Eve. f don't tell him because it's too early. This is what I tell him A.M., and I'm a stickler for tradition. Anyway, it's time to check everybody's teeth (and to tell Alison for the last time that sticking her toothbrush under the faucet doesn't fool me for one minute) and to hear everybody's prayers f and to tell Alison for the last time that beating everybody else to the ''Amen" is not praying) and to kiss everybody goodnight {and to kiss Alison twice and tell her I love her anyway, which is tha simple BY THE TIME I get back to the furnace room Ben has had time to accomplish a great deal, and I feel much better about everything, even ROLLING TENNIS.' So, all right, I will hold the spiky thing in a that it sits up on the edge of the table. It's not as if the children were going to play rolling tennis eight hours a day! Now: By a slight pressure of this needle upon the axis of the runner fitted with a ruhber tie the latter one begins lo move, the other player swiftly catches, stops it to run suit jerks back with the same movement. Only there's no runner. Tnere is a rod with a little rubber tire at each end, but if that's the runner, how would I press its axis? Anyhow, an aris is what things turn on. isn't it? I know it is; I won't even look it up; and it's nine o'clock and Ben has started to fiddle with that idiotic transformer again. I pull out Your Friendly Corner Store. This is more my type, and besides it has a diagram which not only illustrates and labels Parta A to y. of the Corner Store, but also its accessories. it tells you, under a picture of a telephone. "Cord." "Cash register." "Your Friendly Corner Store sign." "Check off- each step as you complete they warn you (and how you this D) and "Follow all directions step by step." I never was a leader, anyhow, so I start right in. Step l.D From the white side of the board press out all excess fi- hreboard from all slotj, notches and erfges so that all the parts look? like those fn the kit drawings. Punch out holes for screws with a sharp pencil. point. D Place parti In alphabetic order. My Friendly Comer Store and F are not so friendly as we used to be, by the time I finish Step 1.1 feel they have been not quite straight with me. They clearly implied that there was only one D to a but, f now note, are seven D's in step 10, alone. look at this. It says here "There's no point fn getting mad about says Ben, who has made tip with trans- former, solved ROLLI NO TENNIS 'they meant not it that means anything to "WHO'S I snarl. Setting up the Corner Store involves stupid littla slots, and I know from ez- perience that at the slightest sign of irritation on my part the tabs will turn into 73 sulky little of tissue paper. I grit rny teeth and on. By ths time t finish Step 12MOD'S later) Ben has put together the bicycle, the tricycle, the tractor, both doll carriages, the doll's house and the Walker Wagon. He la about to begin the electric hockey gome when he discovers the Instructions are !n French. He hands me the instructions. T can read French all right, but who knows what a filet des huts is. for heaven's sake, or a pour pile seche, or a vis a racial, except maybe a French electrician. I go upstairs for the I-aruousse. M know; but I don't think a French dictionary should necessarily be an in- tegral part of Christmas Eve, not even at our house.) When I let myself back into the furnace, room Ben looks at me for the first time this evening and blanches. "Are vou going to church like "Like I answer huffily. And rhetorically. Een holds the Dreamy Dressing Table mirror up to my face. "It's he says, and I tear up the stairs again. MIDNIGHT MASS clears the crossness out of me. Prise ilia goes with us this year, along with John and Pam and Jim; and as I watch them come back from Communion they look so solemn and young and tired and beautiful that my heart almost bursts. My heart almost bursts until I kiss them "Merry Christmas" in the cold starlight outside the church. Still, the furnace room Is afl By Ben and I are getting ruthless. When we find that tha assembly instructions for John's cuckoo clock take up a 15-page booklet and begin: "Look what we have What fun! It's all the parts that go to make a real-as-lifa BLACK FOREST CUCKOO -we clap the cover BEN' HOLDS up the Dreamy Dressing Table mirror. right back on the box and agree to pretend we thought ht wanted a do-it-yourself cuckoo clock. By the B-52 Turret Gun, the Helicopter-Bomber, tha Kookie Kitchen, the weight- lifting set and the pupptt theater arc assembled upstairs; by we'rt finished the musical rocking 'chair, the robot lady, the Sonar set, the fire engine, the weather station, the Yakkity-Yo'n, and we've even found out how to make the Kixry dolls kiss. By every last item is coirplete and in the tha Christmas list has beer recovered from U.e rubble an the furnace room li-or, and we're ready to r'bute. rhat is, Ben artistic and I sit on the floor stuffing Christmas and tell him where to ar- tistically arrange them. AND FINALLY we're through. We thumbtack a sheet across the entrance to tha living-room and tiptoe upstairs to hang stockings on children's bedposts. At in the Hack dark of the upstairs hall, I tiptoe round a corner into Ben, tiptoeing from the opposite direction. I ga.sp and clutch him.. "It's only Santa Claus." "Oh I sigh, too tired even to move away from hla cheek, which feels'like z cactus patch. "What will we ever do when the children are grown c-. ;