In which two gifts* and a lovely present are recalled.
Eight years ago our lives were invaded by two little creatures who to this day aggravate, frustrate, annoy, and give untold pleasure and love: The Infamous Hounds from Hell.
We had an online contest to name them and our friend Cecilia (at the time known on her blog as Dora) gave us the winning names. Because they were Roman puppies we decided that their names should be introduced to the world in a traditional Roman way:
Several weeks after a parcel arrived from the United States: a christening gift from their godmother in Virginia.
The collars are now a bit frayed and worn however they are still sported proudly as we take our walks through town. Nora with her red collar and Nicky with his green have become celebrities around Charlottetown and there are people who know them but will be damned if they know who we are.
*For all that we mutter about Hounds from Hell they are still our treasures.
On this day in 1966: The Heron Road Bridge collapses while being built, killing nine workers in the deadliest construction accident in both Ottawa and Ontario.
One of the pleasures (?) of moving is that as you are packing up you discover things that you forgot you had. In some cases they find their way into the jumble sale box but in others they bring back forgotten memories and are carefully transported to your new home.
During our Warsaw days we were lucky enough to be included in a music appreciation group that had been organized by a most remarkable man: Y C Pan* or just Pan as he was known by everyone at Foreign Affairs. Once a month an array of people of Pan’s acquaintance would gather at someone’s house and bring along a record to play. There would be a pause as some point in the evening and a light supper would be served. When we first began attending these evenings the music was predominately classical; however as time went on it expanded (often much to Pan’s dismay) to include jazz, Broadway, musique concrete, folk, and on one memorable evening rhythm and blues.
There group could vary from ten to sometimes as many as thirty – there was always the core group: several people from the Embassy (Poles and Canadians), a law professor from the University and her artist husband, a member of the Polish Parliament, and a ceramic artist, and his wife who wrote children’s books. They were a lovely couple and they expressed their regret that they just didn’t have enough room in their apartment to host a gathering to reciprocate the hospitality of their Canadian friends.
However just before we left they invited us for Sunday lunch – a time normally reserved for family so we were greatly honoured. And even more so when after lunch they presented us with a going-away gift that Tadeusz had made to remember them by.
In one of our many moves (this is the fifth since Warsaw) they were left in a cupboard and rediscovered when we were packing up. They brought back forgotten memories of those musical evenings, a lunch in their small but lovely apartment, and two people that we knew for a brief but wonderful time in our travels. Their gift has come with us to PEI and I found a place for them in our new home. They are no longer hidden away.
*The Polish word for Mister is Pan and for Mrs is Pani – so Pan and his wife were called Pan Pan and Pani Pan by their Polish friends.
On this day in 1872: Trade unions are legalised in Canada.
Last week the children at the AmBrit International School here in Roma, where my friend Larry teaches, had their yearly visit from Babbo Natale. Babbo did bear a striking resemblance to Larry in many ways but particularly in the way he helps teach the children about giving as one of the best gifts at Christmas.
Most of the children at the school want for very little and enjoy healthy and happy lives but they have learned that there are children in their own city who are not as fortunate. These are children in the AIDS ward at the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital – many of whom are undergoing treatment far away from home. So for several years now, on that special day when Babbo Natale finds time to stop by, the children at AmBrit have been bringing gifts for a gift exchange. But it is a not a gift exchange as we normally think of it. The children give the gifts to Babbo Natale to take to the children in the Hospital when he does his Christmas Eve rounds. Their gift in return is knowing that they have give a few moments of happiness to another little boy or girl.
They have learned a lesson that is often forgotten – that giving can be one of the best gifts of the season.
22 decembre – Sant’Onorio di Canterbury
Okay this little bit of inspired lunacy came in the way of a present from my dear friend Larry for my birthday. He had been reading my entry on Saint Sebastian a few weeks ago and decided this would be an appropriate gift.
In a way I’m glad they stuck (sorry bad pun) with the arrow story – I’m not sure what sort of doll the nice people at Unemployed Philosophers Guild would have come up with had they gone with the alternate form of martyrdom????
13 decembre – Santa Lucia da Siracusa
Okay the Winter Olympics can now officially begin – I received my Winter Olympic Mittens in the mail today! Big old bacis to my darling Sheila! Mille grazie cara!
12 febbraio – Cerimonia inaugurale dei XXI Giochi Olimpici Invernali a Vancouver, Columbia Britannica, Canada.