The Chain Smoking Angel is a Christmas Tradition in my house

I have spent considerable time reflecting and remembering on Christmas past. I decided to take on the Weekly Challenge at WordPress: Just Do It. My buddy over at Brown Road Chronicles inspired me and reminded me of the oddball assortment of Christmas decorations that adorn my tree. I am one of those Christmas Geeks who ‘theme’ out my tree. This year I have a Tiffany & Co tree,151071_10151349105206337_749003960_n

a Disney Tree,577823_10151359535226337_541165187_n

a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree404982_10151307316561337_1108099625_n019

and of course, the regular tree.

Decorating the tree was always a huge deal in my house. It was my mom’s favorite time of year. Now that her favorite little one’s (the grandkids) are all bigger than her, some of the magic sparkle has left the holidays. We cheer her up by sitting around after dinner/breakfast/lunch/dinner and reminisce about Christmas Past.  (Proof that I existed):73256_10151359512121337_124215547_n

That is me (pre-clown hair) in 1968 with my groovy cool dadeo.

When I was 4, we moved to row housing in Sherwood Park. This was my first Christmas memory. I remember getting Baby Tenderloin and 64 crayola crayons. All I remember of my brother was him in flannel pjs. I remember my mom hanging a box of angels on the tree. It was the 60’s, angel’s came in bulk. These fancy angels all were holding ‘so called’ candles. They never fooled me for one minute. These angels were chain smokers.

In those days everyone smoked, so it never occurred to me that angels wouldn’t. This drove my my crazy, “THOSE ARE NOT CIGARETTES!!” The more she denied it the more my brother and I were convinced she was lying. Mom carefully bent the ‘candle’ perpendicular with the angel and my brother and I spent hundreds of hours bending the candles so the angel could smoke. Tell me what you think.

Non-smoking angel:photo 1 (2)

Smoking Angel:photo 2 (1)

She even had a groovy black filter and kind of looked like Phyllis Diller. See for yourself:Phyllis-Diller-post-new

This year the after dinner conversation will start with “mom, why did you hang Phyllis Diller on our tree every year?” This should generate some heated frustrated conversation from my mom. You can’t call it Christmas and not have the mom go a little crazy.


Merry Christmas to all my Edmonton Tourist readers. I appreciate you more than you can every really know. Happy Holidays 🙂

My Angel is on a smoke break

I had the pleasure of talking to my dear friend the Melted Crayon Hoarder (MCH) last night and we shared resent events of our lives over the phone. Then she said to me “Do you ever feel like your Guardian Angel is on a smoke break?”

I laughed for the first time in a very long time. It’s true, sometimes it feels like your back up is on a coffee break.

I grew up believing in Angels, particularly Guardian Angels. Being raised in the Roman Catholic Church helped make the Angel concept normal. My Grandfather told me “Every single kid would be dead by the age of 5 if it wasn’t for their Guardian Angel.” That also is true. At least it is for me. I would be dead a 100 times over if mine didn’t put in all that over time.

When I was 4, my aunt in her infinite wisdom at the age of 10, thought it would be a swell idea if we took Grandpa’s boat out for a ride in the middle of Island Lake up near Athabasca. We both had the opportunity to hold the throttle while grandpa “let us” drive the boat. She figured she knew enough to take me out without an adult. After all, she was 10 and her friend who was a boy and my babysitter was going with us.

I remember it was after dinner, grandma was cleaning up and the three of us ventured down to the water to kill time before campfire time. Summer time in Northern Alberta means endless sunsets. 11:30 before it gets dark, so there was lots of time left before dark.

I could hear my grandfather’s words “never go near the water without a life jacket.” My 4 year old me knew well enough to pull out the musty smelling life jacket from the boat house and put it on. My partners in crime were not as wise. We climbed into the boat and decided to head for the island in the middle of the lake. I had never been there before and told my aunt it is NOT a good idea. I was shot down by both of the older and wiser children in the boat. Off we went.

We made it three quarters of the way to the island when the engine either stalled or ran out of gas. There we were, a drift on the lake the summer of ’72, without cellphones. As luck would have it, our boat was beginning to take on water. I began to bail with the soup can that grandpa tied to the boat. For some reason there wasn’t a paddle in the boat. So the older two worked in tandem trying to paddle with their arms back to shore. I was scared but was calling grandpa in my head to come. Obviously my Guardian Angel went to tell grandpa I needed to be rescued because I saw him roaring across the lake in a friends boat. Before I could blink, his big strong arms grabbed me in lifted me into the rescue boat. Not a word was spoken, which is unusual for anyone who knew my grandfather can attest, he was silent. I was was crying into his chest as he held me tight.

That was one of many life risking scenarios I found myself in as a child before the age of 5. I believe Angels saved me that day and all the other times in my life. There is good reason my Angel needs breaks. I am a handful and a half. No one deserves a smoke break more than my Angel, but lucky for me they whisper in the ears of certain friends who always seem to be there for me when I need them. That way I am certain someone always has my back.