Downhome magazine only has space for a mere fraction of the great stories sent to us by readers. Luckily, they're all available here. You'll find fond reminiscences about the past and personal experiences to which we can all relate.
He Kept Going! Picture it! Eleven children. Seems the way it was 40 years ago, for some it was considered a small family. The more hands the merrier and the greater the help. As for my father, 11 wasn't a big enough challenge. He adopted two of his grandchildren and raised them as his own...on his own! Unfortunately after 31 years of marriage and children as young as six and seven his beloved wife passed on, leaving him ... click to read morePicture it! Eleven children. Seems the way it was 40 years ago, for some it was considered a small family. The more hands the merrier and the greater the help. As for my father, 11 wasn't a big enough challenge. He adopted two of his grandchildren and raised them as his own...on his own! Unfortunately after 31 years of marriage and children as young as six and seven his beloved wife passed on, leaving him to raise the remainder of the family on his own.
I can still see him through the window as he made his way into the woods in frigid temperatures to get food and warmth for his family while I was too cold to come out from under the blankets. We would make our way down the stairs to where he would leave a brewing kettle and a pile of homemade toast on the table before school. It took me a while to realize that the moose meat and rabbit we were all chowing down on came from his hard work and perseverance - the vegetables from his garden and the eggs from the chickens out back.
I consider my father to be a jack of all trades; he was a carpenter, a gardener, a miner, an electrician, a woodsman, a cook, a fisherman and many more. He is a man of faith, a devoted church-goer! Rain or shine every Saturday he made his way to our beautiful church with his children in tow.
He is a man that has encountered a lot of challenges in his life, such as 69,000 volts of electricity going through his body leaving him with only nine fingers and eight toes. But he kept going. The sea spat on him as he rode out the storms jigging for fish, the ice and the cold bitter temperatures ate at his youth as the forests consumed him but he kept going.
Christmas time he always made sure someway, somehow we all had a gift. I still have a doll that I was given as a young girl and I was told the story by my older sister that they walked through a storm to make sure I had it. I've always admired my father for his strength and his courage and the opportunity to see this presented itself far too often: chimney fires, illnesses, sleepless nights and 18-hour days struggling to make ends meet. I remember sitting in the boat coming in from the bay after camping or fishing, just watching him and how he was in control of his surroundings and how safe I felt. I thanked God for him many times. I've seen him build his own boat. To me that was pretty impressive! Unfortunately as time went on his eyes failed him and he had to sell the boat and as kind-hearted as he is he let the boat go for 25 bucks.
Even though he was so busy he always took the time to teach us things if we showed interest. How does this work? What does this do? He has lost siblings and parents and children and grandchildren throughout his time and heartbreak after heartbreak he kept going.
There are many great men out there who have devoted their lives to their families, as well as women, but I wanted to tell a little piece of my story. Great men who have encountered and endured so much should be recognized, appreciated and not forgotten. So many people regret the fact that they never got to tell someone how they feel before they leave us but here's my chance. He is still with us and my dad (grandfather) faithfully reads this magazine every month so I know he will read this and he will know who he is. I want him to know that he is loved and he is my hero!
One Way Silently, the awakening day whispers to the gentle morning...but the echoes are everything but quiet.
Conrad, the old fisherman, sits on the weather beaten grey wharf working at his nets; useless nets for nonexistent cod. But the repetitive sewing and knotting triggers the noisy crescendo of echoes of memories.
The sweet memories of courting:
Walking down Junction Road along the Exploits River on a Sunday afternoon with sweet Madeline. ... click to read moreSilently, the awakening day whispers to the gentle morning...but the echoes are everything but quiet.
Conrad, the old fisherman, sits on the weather beaten grey wharf working at his nets; useless nets for nonexistent cod. But the repetitive sewing and knotting triggers the noisy crescendo of echoes of memories.
The sweet memories of courting:
Walking down Junction Road along the Exploits River on a Sunday afternoon with sweet Madeline. Yes, I was so bold, I dared to hold her hand. And she was so brave, she held mine. Anyone might have seen us.
Old Conrad looked down at his arms, weathered, wrinkled, twisted, much like the ropes of the rigging. His fingers were nothing more than frayed unspliced ends, difficult to distinguish from the rope itself.
The joyful memories of playing:
The town's annual summer garden party with Madeline and his two young children. He and Madeline challenging little Jeremiah and John William to a three legged race. His attention then given towards the open ocean which called and awaited him after too short an interlude.
Old Conrad stood and staggered to the end of the dock to gaze blankly at the dory which was carelessly accommodating the incoming swells from the open ocean beyond the outer Fogo Islands. Both sets of oars languishing in their locks.
The proud memories of building.
He built that boat for his boys: Jeremiah engraved on the port bow and John William engraved on the starboard bow. A boat which was crafted to last forever and seems to be fulfilling its destiny. A boat which was to keep his boys safe forever. His eyes drawn to the outer reaches. Damn you, fickle water! You are no better than the ugly sculpin which feed on bottom death. Damn you, damn ocean of lies!
Old Conrad turned and walked up the rocky path towards the empty house. Empty of family, empty of life. It had died a long time ago, but you can't bury a house. And so it stands, as its own headstone.
The hard memories of departure:
The boys stood aside with their mother. Jeremiah's shoulders slumped from the weight of two suitcases, John William balancing a large cardboard box filled with a mother's necessities. Madeline stood stoically holding herself as if to keep herself from bursting apart. A freshened wind came upon them. The boys leaned into the wind to keep balance. Madeline's hair and clothes hung limp. The wind whistled through her, ignoring her physicality, blowing away her essence.
The ocean had given up the last of its fish, and could no longer sustain a community or a family. I stood with my back to the ocean. I turned my back on the ocean that day and never went to sea again. My sweet wife did not last long after that. Even I was not enough to stymie the transformation from a living, laughing, loving mother to empty vessel.
Old Conrad sat in the parlour listening to the waves through the open window. Tonight the waves seem to be timid and cautious; apologizing and beseeching forgiveness. Conrad closed the window, setttled deep into his couch, lit his pipe and his mood lightened. Tomorrow Jeremiah and John William will be coming home for the town's summer garden party with their wives and children. In all these years, they never missed a garden party.
The accepted memories of acceptance:
There is no turning back the clock. The river of life flows only one way. At times silly people try to make a u-turn with botox, creams, surgery, workouts, new sports cars, young girlfriends. But all too soon they are overwhelmed by the incoming riptide of perverted social conventions, so that one gets caught up, carried along in the surge and dumped in an unchosen place, strange and confusing.
Old Conrad loved the day. His hugs were a little harder and longer than necessary. He ate more than he wanted or needed. He laughed at the antics of the mummers and played tag with the incoming surf at the beach. His grandchildren lost every race that day. (Mainlanders are no match for Newfies in three-legged races.) After supper Jeremiah and John William told him of their plans. They wanted him to fly back to visit with them in Toronto and showed him the plane ticket that they had purchased for him. He accepted.
Old Conrad went to bed that night unable to sleep. Yes, the exhilaration of the day hadn't worn off. Yes, he was nervous, yet looking forward to the long trip up to Ontario. But none of this was keeping him awake and weeping. It was in fact the two small words he had seen at the top of the ticket, which he still grasped, twisting and worrying, in his hand.
Two small words which stabbed at his heart.
Two small words which said, "One Way."
Old Conrad finally succumbed to the dreamless night.
Every summer, as soon as school was out, my sister and I were packed into my pop's dory where we headed for the shore. It was on this shore where I would spend my entire summer. It was roughing it at its ... click to read moreEvery summer, as soon as school was out, my sister and I were packed into my pop's dory where we headed for the shore. It was on this shore where I would spend my entire summer. It was roughing it at its best. We stayed in a two room cabin. At night, light was provided via a kerosene lantern and our toilet was in the form of an outhouse. It wasn't anything glamorous but the setting itself was beautiful. Sandy beaches that stretched for miles with clean lakes and rivers. My sister and I scoured the beach for seashells, pebbles, starfish, crabs and whatever other treasures would happen upon us. Our days were spent building sand castles, swimming, fishing and just running free. In the evenings, we would help Pop collect driftwood and have a bonfire where we would roast wieners and marshmallows. At night, we would fall into bed.
I would wake in the morning to the sound of the waves crashing onto the beach and the crackle and pop of an early fire in the woodstove and the crick crack of Pop's rocking chair as he slowly rocked back and forth. I can still remember Pop sitting in his chair at the table looking through the window at the early morning fog with his tea cooling in his saucer. And if I close my eyes, I can still smell the toast that was made over the wood stove with Nan's homemade bread.
In the morning, if the water was calm, Pop would take us out in his boat to jig for cod. My sister always got seasick. After getting a cod or two for lunch, we would head back into shore. We would watch Pop clean and fillet the fish and Nan would fry it up in the cast iron fry pan and we would devour it. I don't know if it was the fresh air, the salt water but, whatever it was, everything she cooked tasted delicious coming off that ol' wood stove. It would be so hot in the cabin with that fire going, that all three windows and one door would be open from dawn to dusk.
In the afternoons, if the black flies weren't too thick, we would take off berry picking. To this day, I still do not enjoy berry picking, walking over the bog to pick backepples. But, it was something that we did so our nan could make jams and pies. It is something that I do today with my own children.
Our days were carefree. My grandparents didn't have to worry about us and we were good kids. We helped with the chores, doing the dishes, sweeping the floors and such. The only time spent inside was when we came in to eat or if it was raining. Then we spent our time playing board games and drawing and having lazy afternoon naps by the woodstove. Pop would sit next to the stove in his rocking chair quietly rocking and every now and then he would say or do something to make us laugh. I can remember standing at the table with Nan and making lemon pie. She always let me make my very own pie on a tea plate. For some reason, that one always tasted the best.
As a child, I sometimes resented the shore as my other friends were off to places like P.E.I., Maine and Florida for summer vacation. They were off seeing the country in a recreational vehicle, swimming in pools, dining at fancy restaurants, etc. But, looking back, I wouldn't have traded those summers on the shores of Newfoundland with Nan and Pop for anything. My nan and pop have been passed for several years now, but, I always return to that spot on the shore when I visit Newfoundland and if I close my eyes, I can still see the land as it was with their cabin, the dory hauled up on the dock and my sister and I playing away on the beach. ... Hide full submission
My Grandma is a Rock Star! (1 comments) My Grandma is a rock star! Well...not really. But she could be! She is single-handedly the most awesome little old lady on the planet and easily out-cools most people I know, which is an amazing feat since I know a lot of ... click to read moreMy Grandma is a rock star! Well...not really. But she could be! She is single-handedly the most awesome little old lady on the planet and easily out-cools most people I know, which is an amazing feat since I know a lot of really cool people.
She doesn't even realize she's half as cool as she is. She just goes about her life doing her own thing, saying some of the funniest things I've ever heard and brightening up lives all over the place and she doesn't even know it! To her it's no big deal. How cool is that?
Having been given up for adoption as a baby, I was 22 before I even met my Grandma. And, during the flight from Toronto to St. John's, I was nervous as hell! I'd never spoken to her and I'd only seen a few grainy pictures so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. At best, she was going to be one of those kindly, plump, permed old ladies who wore flowery dresses, smelled like bread and baked pies all day. After all, that's what Newfie Grandmas do, right? They knit. They sew. They bake. They pray. Some of them burn up the phone lines with gossip and squeeze the guts out of you when they grab you by the head for a grandma hug but it's harmless enough. On the other hand, she could be an evil, spindly old hag who chain smoked out of a long, ivory cigarette holder, wore tailored suits and fur coats made of kittens, had a chignon tied so tight, it pulled the corners of her eyes back to her temples and spent her time criticizing everything you do from a rocking chair where she sat petting a Pomeranian rat named Foo Foo.
However, when I finally stood face-to-face with her, she was nothing like I had expected.
Actually, I can't say that I have ever stood face to face with my grandmother. She's Grandma-size, at about five feet tall in her teeny, tiny bare feet so at 5'7", I could comfortably eat a pie off the top of her head...not that I ever would, of course. But other than how short she is, the first thing I noticed about Grandma Joan is the fact that she is indeed a plump little old lady who knits, sews, bakes and prays. I was right about that. She also swears, drinks rye, tells dirty jokes and drives a standard like a race car driver. Seventy-one years old and she'd put most NASCAR drivers to shame.
During my visit, she and I went to Bay Bulls to see a family friend and go on a boat tour of the harbour. I'd never been to St. John's before so I was pretty excited. I thought since the car was a five-speed, she'd ask me to drive. I incorrectly and stereotypically assumed that many elderly people have problems with poor circulation, their backs are knotted up, their hearts are bad, their hands are arthritic, their legs pain them, etc. Not my grandma! She just jumped into the driver's seat, pulled the seat up as close to the steering wheel as it would go to accommodate her short little legs, slapped the thing in reverse and peeled out of the driveway, spraying the house with gravel. My mouth dropped open in holy-moly shock. The only ailment Grandma Joan appeared to be suffering from in her old age was lead foot!
Although she drives better than most people half her age, I couldn't help but become a little nervous because it quickly became apparent that my grandma was on a mission: get to Bay Bulls, nevermind the nonsense and completely disregard any other objects on the road - including other drivers. I'm old, I've got places to be, get the jeepers outta my way!
About 10 minutes into our journey, and while driving up a crowded double-lane city street in St. John's, Grandma Joan realized that she should be going in the opposite direction. Instead of slowly pulling over into a parking lot like many people would do, she checked her mirrors, yanked the steering wheel roughly to the left and made a complete u-turn right across four lanes of traffic. Once she had straightened out the car, she nailed the gas and shot up the road. Yikes! My grip on the door handle tightened but we made it there in one piece.
My grandma is up with modern times. She has e-mail...and she uses it! She sends pictures and forwards and little messages. My adoptive parents, who are 20 years younger, don't even own a computer - but my 71-year old granny not only has a computer that she totally knows how to use, she has e-mail! I think it's the most hilarious thing ever that I can e-mail my own grandmother.
My grandma is also on Facebook. Can you believe that? I'm Facebook friends with my own grandmother...and I think she actually has more friends than I do. It totally makes me laugh when she pokes me or comments on my status updates. It also means that I can't hide from her so pictures of that one time when I...oh wait...she also knows how to use the internet and reads Downhome all the time so I better keep that story to myself. The technological age definitely isn't passing this woman by. YOUR grandma might be sitting in front of the TV watching The Price is Right and knitting socks but MY grandma is surfing the information highway! How do ya like THAT?
Grandma Joan also has the best sense of humour. I was teasing her once about when she plans to marry her boyfriend, Abe. Yes, my grandma has a boyfriend. Seventy-one years old; she has a boyfriend and I don't. Not surprising; look how pretty she is! Anyway, I joked about what her wedding would look like and decided that she would look so cute in a white Jackie Kennedy Chanel suit with a little pillbox hat. Maybe there would be a little miniature veil partially covering her face?
Well, Grandma Joan decided that she didn't like that idea so she sent me a picture, via e-mail, of what she really planned to wear on her jaunt up the aisle. It was of a scantily-clad model wearing a very revealing lingerie-type wedding dress...or so it seemed. Upon closer inspection, I gasped. Apparently my little ol' granny plans to get married in the nude with a painted-on dress. Well, alright then.
She was also a master at settling disputes amongst her children in a fair and even manner. When accused by one child of favouring another, her response was "I have no favourites. I hates the works of you's!" Argument settled.
But despite all that, there's more to my grandma than just a modern, lively and incredibly funny lady. She's smart and caring and loves her family more than anything else on earth. She sends me cute little cards for insignificant occasions like Halloween and Easter and has never forgotten my birthday. She calls me when I'm sick or when I'm sad and always cheers me up.
She has an aura around her that just makes you feel comfortable and the minute she laughs, you can't help but like her. Personally, I'm not an overly affectionate person but I always want grandma hugs. From the first time I met her, I took to her like glue and when I discovered that she's also the coolest little old lady around, I decided right there that I'm going to be exactly like her when I'm 70. She's grabbed life by the horns and is running with it, living each and every day to its fullest. I'm lucky to have a Grandma like her.
Savin' Lives, One Man at a Time Yesterday was an eventful day. At lunch time I helped a man and I feel damn good about it.
I was across the street and I heard a sound like something big had fallen and tumbled. I looked across the road and I saw a man at the bottom of a flight of stairs and he was hurt. I rushed over across the road to help the man, and first I notice the blood ... click to read moreYesterday was an eventful day. At lunch time I helped a man and I feel damn good about it.
I was across the street and I heard a sound like something big had fallen and tumbled. I looked across the road and I saw a man at the bottom of a flight of stairs and he was hurt. I rushed over across the road to help the man, and first I notice the blood on the ground. As I try to help the man sit upright, which I couldn't do very well on my own, so I ask for help from a man walking by, I notice a big, two-inch gash on the top of his head. There was a lot of blood, but the man didn't have much hair so I could see very clearly that he needed help. After the man that helped me sit him upright (I was trying my best to help support his head and neck while doing so, in case he hurt his spine) I asked him to go inside and get paper towels to put on the wound. While I was waiting for him to come back, I looked around, and spotted a mitt in the injured man's jacket and put that on his head. I grabbed my phone and called 911 and got help. When the man helping me came back with paper towels, I put those on his head. All while I was doing this I started asking the injured man questions. Questions like: Do you know where you are? Do you know your name? Do you know what time of day it is? Just questions like that to tell me as a first aider, what his level of consciousness was, which is VERY important for when the paramedics arrive. When the police and paramedics arrived, they asked me questions, and took my information in case they had anymore questions. They said I had done a good job. There was blood on my hands, so I went inside to wash up, and went on my way to class, which I was now late for, but that was okay.
I had seen my Wilderness First Aid instructor in school. I gave him a big hug and told him what he taught me had helped save a life today. He didn't really say anything, but his face turned red and he had a big smile on his face. I think it meant a lot to him.
After class, I went to the hospital to see if the man was okay, but he was gone. They discharged him, so I guess if he was okay to leave the hospital, he must have been okay.
I later thought about it, but I knew who this man was. I also know that he donates blood, then I wasn't too worried about the blood that had gotten on my hands. I knew this man because he used to, and probably still does, help my dad with odd jobs every now and then, ever since I was a young girl. This man even used to babysit me and my brother growing up. It just was nice to help him, and I feel so good about it.
All I can think of now is, would this have happened anywhere else? Or just being in Newfoundland and being raised to help one another, stranger or not, compelled me to help this person? The question I have for all of you readers, what would you have done? It's easy to say you would have helped too, but a lot of people would not have been able to because they would have been in panic. I may only be a young'n at a tender age of 20, but I know no matter how old or young you are, you should always help if you can, because I personally feel that I have saved this man's life. ... Hide full submission
I go to school at CNA here in town and I'm taking Adventure Tourism. For an assignment in one of my classes I wrote and had to present this to my class, but I thought I would present this to the works ... click to read moreI go to school at CNA here in town and I'm taking Adventure Tourism. For an assignment in one of my classes I wrote and had to present this to my class, but I thought I would present this to the works of all ye as well.
How to be a Newfoundlander
You know what really grinds my gears? Stereotypes and discrimination due to the ignorance of the masses! Many other groups have their stereotypes, both positive and negative; we are no exception. I hope to clear up a few stereotypes and talk about them for a bit today. Newfoundland has lots of unique culture and positive things to offer to the rest of the world, if given the chance to do so.
Newfoundlanders are stupid? False! If we are such stupid people, then why do we have such great post-secondary education? World class facilities like Memorial University of Newfoundland, College of the North Atlantic and other private colleges offer programs and education recognized worldwide. We educate our own people, and others who travel from all over the world to attend school here. From what I'm aware, the Adventure Tourism Program at College of the North Atlantic often gets many students from all over the world.
Newfoundlanders are all Fishermen? False! Traditionally yes, there were a lot of people that made a living off the water, but times have changed! With development of new projects, and urbanization, came jobs being created for our people and anyone else who venture here to immerse themselves in us and our culture. Oil rigs, mines, and even tourism is on the rise! Newfoundland is still growing and will continue to grow! We have lots of natural resources to generate jobs for our people. We Newfoundlanders are hard workers; we have worked so hard for what we have achieved in our province.
Newfoundlanders eat nothing but fish? False! We do eat fish, a wide variety of fish, but that's not all we eat. We have a wide variety of traditional Newfoundland dishes and foods to enjoy. With a wide range of ancestry, we have a unique blend of tastes that make up traditional Newfoundland foods. For example, bakeapples are only found in two places worldwide, Newfoundland and Scotland. This leads to many things being made from bakeapples, such as jams and desserts. We have Figgy Duff, a delicious 16th-century steamed pudding that's still very much a favourite today. Taste recipes you've never heard of, Colcannon, Doughboys, Pea soup, Salt Fish and Brewis, Toutons, and Cod Tongues to name a few.
Many of our dishes are based on locally attained ingredients like wild game, like moose and rabbit, and things we can grow here that can endure our harsh weather, like root vegetables. Many people come to Newfoundland to enjoy some of our traditional dishes. One of our famous dishes would be our "Jiggs Dinner." Jiggs Dinner is special in a way that, it's made more than just to be delicious food, because more than often, there are large amounts made to serve lots of people. Meaning, it's very social and brings people together, like everyone in a whole family gathering at Grandma's for Sunday dinner, for example.
Newfoundlanders are friendly people? From my experience, true! If you have travelled anywhere else, to a larger city like Toronto, no one smiles at anyone. Here in Newfoundland, even if someone doesn't know you, they will at least say "Hello!" or "Good day!" and smile at one another as they pass by. It is a very welcoming, warm feeling. I think Newfoundlanders are so friendly because back in early days in small settlements, the people had no one to rely on to help them but each other. We are just as kind to strangers too! For example: Back when 9/11 happened, when all the airplanes were landed, there were so many people stranded in St. John's that all the hotels were full. So, some local people let some of these stranded strangers into their homes so they had a warm bed to sleep in that night.
To me, being a Newfoundlander means not only being born here, but being raised in our culture on this island we call our home, and I have gained a large amount of respect for my home and its people. Many people consider themselves Newfoundlanders before Canadians even now because they are so proud of their home. I go to school now to get my education, because they are one of your greatest tools in life, and one of the others being kind and respectful to others, with them you can go much further and see much further in many aspects of life. I think people that have those tools are some of the best things that Newfoundland can offer, because I'm "Manufactured Right Here." And I'm a proud Newfoundlander!
Our Christmas Miracle in Gander I would like to share this story with your readers - as it was our Christmas Miracle this past Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, I, along with my brother, John Strickland and his wife Jo-Ellen, left Halifax on the midnight flight and flew to St. John's, Newfoundland. Due to poor weather, the flight was delayed leaving Halifax, arriving at 4:00 a.m. in St. John's. We were greeted at the airport by my good friend, Patricia ... click to read moreI would like to share this story with your readers - as it was our Christmas Miracle this past Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, I, along with my brother, John Strickland and his wife Jo-Ellen, left Halifax on the midnight flight and flew to St. John's, Newfoundland. Due to poor weather, the flight was delayed leaving Halifax, arriving at 4:00 a.m. in St. John's. We were greeted at the airport by my good friend, Patricia Power in St. John's and went to her home for a little rest, before starting out on our journey to Grand Falls. We were going there as our father, Chesley Strickland, from Milltown, Bay D'Espoir, had been admitted to Grand Falls Hospital and was in very serious condition.
Early Christmas morning we began our journey to Grand Falls, and driving conditions were not the best. We drove and drove and since it was Christmas Day, nothing was open and we were anxious to stop for a cup of tea or just to stop anywhere. Finally, when we arrived in Gander, we noticed that the lights were on in the Irving Gas Station & Restaurant. We quickly turned the car around and went in, to be greeted by two very friendly gentlemen, wishing us Merry Christmas and welcoming us to come in. We were so surprised to see they were open as nothing was opened all along our long drive. They soon told us they were not actually open for business. The Gander Community hosts a free Christmas dinner each year for homeless people, for anyone who lives by themselves, for people travelling, or for anyone who would like to share a Christmas Dinner with other people. We were totally overwhelmed by their generous hospitality and quickly sat down and had a cup of tea. The place was decorated lovely for Christmas and a very talented lady was playing guitar and singing Christmas carols in the corner. A most delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings, including Newfoundland traditional "salt beef" was served to us. The meal was absolutely wonderful and lots of it - home-cooked and just like "home" away from home, topped off by a delicious dessert.
We chatted with the people there who were serving the meals - all volunteers in the community volunteering their time on Christmas morning to cook and serve a wonderful Christmas dinner for people like us who dropped in. They also delivered several meals to other people in the community, who were unable to leave their homes. Our meal was served to us by the Mayor of Gander, Claude Elliott, and he sat down and chatted with us for a bit, along with a lawyer from the Gander community, both wonderful people. What a marvelous thing to do for others on Christmas Day. We enjoyed the meal and appreciated it so much; we were so overwhelmed by this community effort and this is truly what Christmas is all about - helping others in times of need. When we left, they presented us with boxes of chocolates and a little care package bag.
The three of us left feeling so impressed and overwhelmed by finding this very special Christmas miracle - just hit the spot as we travelled along the highway to visit our father in the hospital. Unfortunately, our father lost his battle to cancer and passed away on January 5th. We will never forget our Christmas miracle in Gander on Christmas Day. Many thanks to the mayor and citizens of Gander for their most generous and thoughtful hospitality.
Sincerely, Marjorie (Strickland) Boutilier, Halifax, Nova Scotia