Thursday, January 15, 2009

It is a New Year?

This week did seem like the start of the New Year. To begin with it was actually possible to walk on the sidewalks and streets of Vancouver again. The snow started to melt and it was even possible to drive on the completely unplowed side streets of the city. When we were able to see grass, we knew that this crazy weather was on its way out. The world started to return to normal.

But it has still been a slow start to my new year - and don't get me wrong by thinking that I have been productive during the last few weeks. Nope - slow, unproductive, stagnant times in this household.

Today, I took down the wreath from the front door. I didn't put up any decorations this year as we were going away for the holidays, so one might think I could have taken the wreath down before this. But I never really want to remove the wreath.

When I was 7 years old we moved to the suburbs of Toronto. Ron and Barb, who lived next door (along with their four children) became our life-long friends. Barb and my mother have stayed in touch all these years, even though my mother moved to Vancouver 25 years ago. Their daughter Cheri and I have managed to spend lots time together over the years and keep up to date and our children have become friends (even though I moved to Vancouver 25 years ago). About 20 years ago, Barb (who was always a "crafty" person) sent me a pinecone wreath she had made. I was honoured that she went to that much trouble and expense (you have to understand, our parents weren't the kind that had much money to spend on craft items, let alone postage) and I have over the years continued to think of her every time I pull out the wreath.

But pinecone wreaths don't last forever - and every year I have to repair some of the brittle cones that fall off, or repair the glue that is ever-failing. Each year I need to add some berries, or ribbons, or even fake flowers to keep it all together and to hide the gaping holes. But every year I do it gladly - and always think of a dear friend.

About a year ago it became evident that Barb was afflicted with Alzheimer's. Until recently she has been able to remain at home with Ron (who suffered a stroke a few years ago), but it appears that her cognitive functions are worsening. Next year, undoubtedly, she will be in worse condition. Her children are struggling with finding treatment and care options for both parents.

I took down my wreath today and gingerly stored it so that it will survive until next Christmas. I will take it out next year and try and patch up the damage - I'll put on some berries, some ribbon, some more pine cones. It doesn't really resemble the all-natural wreath Barb sent me many years ago - but it is still her handiwork at the core of it all. I will try and make the wreath look beautiful and festive - and I will think of Barb and her family - our life-long friends.

Here is the wreath (the 2008 edition). You'll see it again in 2009......


Anonymous said...

It really is a beautiful wreath. Next year, why not take off the holly and just put lots of red berries on it, mixed in with the pinecones. My front door wreath is all red berries and I don't take it down until spring. I figure that if it doesn't have anything overtly Christmas-y, like balls or holly, it is fine for the entire winter. That is a lovely story of your neighbour and I know that I too would want to keep the wreath for as long as possible.
On another note -- you can see grass?! You lucky so and so. Here in Toronto, the entire west end is without power due to to another burst water main and it is -15 degrees. Needless to say there is no grass in sight. Enjoy your spring!

Kali said...

Krista, that brought tears to my eyes. We were so silly. We got rid of our "nanna" wreath...