Table six in the fourth floor dining room at the long-term care facility is a favourite with the staff. Ninety-eight-year-old Dorothy leads the pack with her no-nonsense attitude. Beside her sits Verna, just eight years her junior, who always has a smile and a kind word for everyone. Carole is the junior member of the group: still in her sixties, she has been a resident of the home for a decade or more. The fourth woman at the table is a newcomer, who likes to complain about how she didn’t choose to be here. Rehabilitating her is a project for the table mates.
It’s December, and the days are getting shorter.
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” Verna sings, referencing the snow outside.
“Glad we’re cozy in here,” Dorothy adds.
“Wonder when the people across the street are going to put up their Christmas lights,” Carole says, indicating the large three-story house across the street. “I wait for it every year.”
The women gab about their families and what activities are coming up this week as darkness falls outside. They chat with the staff, and are enjoying the camaraderie so much, they linger over coffee and tea.
And then it happens: the house across the road comes to life. Bright coloured lights illuminate the wide staircase leading up to the front door and wrap around the porch, carrying on up to the upper floors and outlining the gingerbread eaves. A large, ornate Christmas tree is visible through the big bay window in the front, and stars and snowflakes sparkle from other rooms.
Carole claps with excitement.
“I wonder if they know how much joy they bring to us old folks,” one of the women ponders.
“We should let them know!”
So the women set about writing a card, signing their names, and convincing one of the employees to drop it off. They know nothing about the occupants of the house across the street, but their little adventure excites them.
A few days later, their dinner is interrupted by a special delivery. An envelope addressed to the four women arrives at their table.
“Open it, open it!”
“Looks like a Christmas card, and …. photos!”
“There were photographs of the whole family,” Mom told me later. “Three generations in one house. They told us all their names and everything. It made our week! Now there’s a story for your blog.”
And then she added: “It’s the simple things that really make Christmas special, isn’t it?”
It sure is, Mom.
Here’s wishing all of you a simply delightful holiday season. May your own stories be just as sweet.