Merry Christmas - 2010

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Another year has passed, and I again come to the time when I cannot help but reflect on the changes that have happened in my life, and what changes may come in the next year.

This year has had it's share of both happiness and sorrow. I have come to love some people more, and lose some people as well. But, that's how it goes.

Last Christmas, my partner Terry and I (along with her grown children Mark and Katherine) spent time in Montreal, celebrating with her family. It was to be a short visit, only a few days long, as both Mark and Katherine had obligations back in Ontario. Terry contemplated staying for a couple of weeks, and I thought that I might take the opportunity to visit with my father in Nova Scotia (I was already half-way there).

We arrived in Montreal on Christmas Eve, to a boisterous and joyous reception from the whole Mercurio clan. I met Terry's brothers and sisters (again), and reacquainted myself with her father and mother. Socializing with parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, friends and acquaintances became the order of the day (night, actually).

On Christmas Day, we all exchanged gifts, and generally jollied about. Mr. & Mrs. Mercurio hosted a great family dinner, attended by all, which overflowed the dining room and extended into most of the rest of their home. The ladies of the family did wonders with food, the men did the same with the wine. What a wonderful Christmas that was.

But it didn't last. Terry's mother took ill on Boxing Day, and was hospitalized. Of course, plans were altered, and departures rescheduled. On New Year's eve, Terry's mother passed away (Rest in Peace, Caterina Procopio Mercurio), and the family went into mourning. We all returned home together, in a very sombre mood, after the funeral.

Terry's older sister had come to Montreal from her home in San Diego. Frankie is a wonderful woman, full of life and joy, and a pleasure to be around. On our way out, I promised her that Terry and I would visit her and San Diego soon. We kept that promise in March. Terry and I spent the last week of March in sunny California, enjoying our time with Frankie and her partner Keith. Spring break gave Terry the time off, and as March 25 is a difficult day for me, I took the time myself.

But again, a happy occasion turned sad; while we were in San Diego, my father passed away. He had been hospitalized just before we departed, and the doctors were keeping me informed of his condition. We returned from San Diego and I immediately departed for Nova Scotia, to make the funeral arrangements and take care of his estate.

Once I returned from Halifax, I had to catch up on all the "spring things" that one has to do around the house. It was now the middle of April, and the warm weather had finally arrived. This year, I didn't get around to planting any annuals in the garden; there was too much else to do.

The driveway was in pretty bad shape; twenty years of use will do that to pavement. I took some time and contracted with a paver to rip up and repave the driveway. At the time, I had contemplated more: concrete curbs along the driveway, and possibly a new walk up to the front door. But, that was going to cost too much, so I stuck with just the pavement.

Terry and I took another trip to Montreal; an extended long weekend gave us the chance to revisit the family, in a little calmer time. I got the royal tour of Montreal; the Basilica, the Mountain, Montreal smoked meat and bagels, the works. What a beautiful city it is.

Since I had to be available to take care of my father's estate, I didn't travel much this year. Mostly day trips around southern Ontario. The summer passed quickly, and we soon were into fall. I found a number of beautiful hiking trails around Georgetown; the fall colours were stunning. Terry's daughter Katherine took a contract on Pelee Island, and we explored the "Tomato Capitol of Canada" in our travels to get her there.

Terry and I took some ad-hoc trips: We spent a beautiful weekend in Ontario's wine country, touring the wineries and sampling (carefully) the wine. We stayed overnight in St. Catherines after spending the entire day hunting wineries from Stoney Creek to Niagara-on-the-Lake.

  

We attended a performance of "The Tempest" at Stratford, Ontario. Christopher Plummer starred in the role of Prospero, and gave us a magnificent and memorable performance. We walked the banks of the River Avon, dined in an "interesting" restaurant (hint: you need reservations for anything in Stratford), and generally enjoyed ourselves.

For most of the summer, we attended weekly dances at the "Capitol Punishment" (actually, the Capitol Banquet Hall, in Brampton). I didn't used to enjoy dancing, but it is growing on me. I still don't dance well, but what I lack in precision, I make up for in random movement.

A fall excursion to Niagara Falls, New York, allowed us to do some early Christmas shopping. On the way back, we stopped into Niagara-on-the-Lake for a beautiful dinner at the Angel Inn. Sadly, we didn't have time for a winery tour, but we did have a bit with dinner.

Finally, my father's estate was settled, and my brother and I (along with two nieces from my father's second marriage) received our inheritance. My brother wisely banked most of his money, and I did the same. But, I splurged a bit, I must admit. I bought myself a blue-and-silver ebike. Think "motor scooter", but with pedals and a car-battery-powered electric motor. Street legal, but without the need for a licence or insurance. I tool around the neighbourhood on my ebike now, only using the car if I have to. Thanks, Dad.

And, that's where it stands. Terry and I are still an item. I've got a simple life that I enjoy, with good friends and great family.

I hope that your life is as good as mine.

Merry Christmas!