Thursday, December 23, 2004

The Time Approaches

As Christmas eve draws closer I can say that Clan Mad is pretty well finished with the domestic preparations. I have a number of last minute presents to wrap. Castle Mad has lights in the turrets, all sorts of other decorations and a wonderful spruce tree that looks magical even to this middle aged patriarch. Yes, folks John the Mad is a patriarch (albeit a minor one) and proud of it to boot.

After much deliberation a few days ago, my sons picked out that perfect tree at the Taylor tree farm and Master Liam, now 11, felled it all by himself. He was quite proud of himself, as he should be. You always remember your first trophy tree. One of the side benefits is that you are struck from the David Suzuki Foundation charitable begging list. Nothing to sneer at, that.

Lady Mad, of course, finished her present shopping and wrapping a week or two ago. Possessing Irish hedge row poet genes, I find her Protestant organizational streak endlessly fascinating, if somewhat odd. .... I am digressing.

The presents are being placed under the tree as I write. I'm sipping a glass of Ontario red wine (quite nice) and nibbling on some Upper Canadian extra-old cheddar (mmmm) and the heavenly choir is practicing at this very moment for the big event (No? .... O', ye of little faith!).

Yesterday after we all went to see The Polar Express (It was a good movie.) Master Brendan (six) and Master Liam both visited Santa in the mall in Pickering on the Rouge. It is my considered opinion that all the other Santas, in all the other malls, are mere hired help. We get the real superannuated Catholic bishop, ... on half pay no doubt. I'll tell you why I know this.

The line was very long but well behaved, as one would expect at a time when the naughty list was nearing completion. Master Brendan sneaked around and stared wide eyed at Himself. After a while, Bishop Nicholas noticed. Brendan smiled and waved. Santa, who until that moment looked a tad tired stood up, broke into a genuine barn burner of a grin and waved back and winked. Yup, he's the real McCoy allright.

I have to get back to my patriarchal seat with the family now. It just doesn't get any better, you know. Thank you Lord, .... for them .... and everything.


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