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PENINSULA ZOOMER: A sense of longing for Christmases past

Spirit of Christmas can still be found through seasonal giving

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.

To be perfectly honest, I’m dreaming of a Christmas like I used to know. Any Christmas embedded in my memory bank of which there are many.

Christmas didn’t usually consist of snow but lots of rain as I recall. But that didn’t matter as long as there was family and friends and presents under the tree.

And lots of food and drink and music.

And laughter.

But most of all, people gathering together.

Well, I can forget about that this year as the rift continues between my vaccinated daughter and the unvaccinated one with me caught in the middle.

I guess separate Christmas celebrations are in order.

But as I have my boyfriend’s family to consider as well, I believe I have solved the problem. I will spend Christmas with his vaccinated family at Manning Park.

Indeed, I shall have a white Christmas after all.

But just a minute, Highway 3 is closed to non-essential travel so that get-together is unlikely to happen.

Actually, I should like to forget about Christmas altogether.

How can I be merry and jolly when so many British Columbians have been impacted by this year’s forest fires, heat dome, torrential rains, atmospheric rivers and floods?

With so many homes and towns destroyed beyond recognition.

The Sumas Prairie turned into a lake once again.

Farmers impacted with their crops and animals lost due to the destruction caused by the flooding.

Highways destroyed by mudslides. Bridges out.

Innocent people killed with one couple leaving a two-year an orphan.

How can I give two hoots about my Christmas when I have enough memories to last a lifetime.

But for so many, a lifetime of memories and possessions has been wiped out.

While we were in Mexico, I followed the devastation and havoc brought on by Mother Nature on the nightly news.

Feeling helpless, I simply reached for another margarita.

My boyfriend’s home was flooded. His underground parkade became an extension of Cultus Lake with fish swimming in it.

Fortunately, a neighbour immediately hired a crew of six men and an excavator to solve the problem.

We could only watch helplessly from afar on WhatsApp videos.

We were so grateful.

My home in South Surrey was untouched.

As I have my feet in two communities, I was also concerned about the adorable gift shop I work at in Yarrow.

It was closed down during the deluge and sandbagged. The store owner’s home was flooded and she had to be evacuated.

The entire town of Yarrow virtually closed down and was kept prisoner as Highway 1 was flooded and closed.

Upon my return to Canada, I continued to feel helpless and useless as I was safe and dry in my home unable to get back to the Valley to help.

It’s difficult to get excited about Christmas, white or otherwise, while the aftermath of this damage remains visible within the relentless clutches of the pandemic.

But I refuse to feel helpless.

You know all this talk about the supply chain issues affecting our purchasing power this year?

Forget about buying useless things you don’t really need.

Show British Columbians you care.

Please donate cash to the United Way or Red Cross for the flood relief. Give cash to your local food banks. The Salvation Army or the Union Gospel Mission.

CARP recently co-hosted our annual Christmas party and attendees generously donated to the flood relief fund.

Thanks for your support.

As for me, I will continue to work at my store this month.

For free.

Merry Christmas everyone. See you in 2022.

April Lewis is the local communications director for CARP, a national group committed to a ‘New Vision of Aging for Canada.’ She writes monthly.

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