Every morning, in every city and village across this country and presumably the world sits a table filled with old men drinking coffee, telling jokes and tall stories. They speak in their own language whether it is English, French, Hindi or Trucker.
Yeserday morning as we grabbed a coffee at 8am on the way to the ferry, the regulars in the Tim Hortons were talking farming… One guy finshed his coffee and got up to leave. He said to the others he best be getting home.. His friends teased.. “Fraid of getting in trouble with Betty?” “Naw” he says, “she doesn’t scare me” as he sped up out the door… I was thinking his friends new better but the teasing had probably been going on for sixty years, since all they were all in high school.
We boarded the boat and it soon became obvious that the passengers riding the BC Ferries make up a very different demographic at Christmas than on an August long weekend or Mothers Day. Everyone was old! It seems that at Christmas time the families with young children stay put in their decorated homes filled with gingerbread and lights. At Christmas, it is their Grandparents who travel in cars filled with wrapped packages and baking to battle the traffic and sleep in strange beds.
It would be cliche of me to mention that it seems like yesterday that we were that family tucked into our house with excited young children as we waited for Papa to arrive from the island. His car would be loaded with presents but the spiced apple preserves were the most prized.. Where did it go, the time? When did we become the old couple on the ferry, our car filled with canning and shortbread….We took our seats in the cafeteria beside all the other grey haired couples drinking their coffee and playing cards.
This will be our thirty sixth Christmas together. We will be with our children tonight and for the better part of the holidays. We are going to our eldests sons apartment for dinner. Our middle son, who hosted us last year will bring the stockings. Last night our daughter, as she has aways done, helped us wrap the gifts. Although we don’t live together anymore and Christmas routines have changed drastically we do some of the little things the way we have always done. It’s not the same as it was but the chance to be together is precious none the less.
We were at the coffee shop at 7 this morning before we ran the last few errands on our list. The Tim Hortons in the heart of Kitsilano hosts the same table of men in the corner as all the others across Canada. This group spoke Greek and although I couldn’t understand them, I am pretty sure the jokes and tall tales were similar to the ones we heard yesterday morning.
No matter how different they seem, some
things never change