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heat and light

Anne-Marie, who lives in Scarborough, called this morning to tell me their power had just gone back on. They’d been without for 3 days – not just without heat and light, but their phone and even cell phones were useless. Complete blackout. Luckily, they have a fireplace, but soon ran out of wood and there was none to be bought. They managed with Prestologs, boiling water on top of their gas stove for tea, huddling in layers of clothing – last night, she said, she and Jim got out the rulebook and played Crazy 8’s by candlelight.

But now, hooray, they can get warm again and cook the turkey for the family as originally planned.

Cabbagetown is such a diverse neighbourhood, with so many income groups living in close proximity, that I never, never forget how lucky I am – not just to have had heat and light through the ice storm, but to have a roof, family and friends, a job, my health. My sanity, more or less. I am surrounded, on the streets, by people who are barely clinging on; I see it in the grocery line before and after me, my neighbours buying sliced white bread, baloney, the cheapest juice. And I, with my hothouse tomatoes, Brie, paté.

Paul McCartney’s latest album has a song with the lines, There but for the grace of God go you, and I. It’s a cliché. It’s also true. I am now going to the Y to sit in silence and be thankful for this fine, rich life. And then, into the thick of it again.

I wish you joy, my dearest friends and readers.

P.S. 5 p.m. For years, right now was the most frantic time of all – preparing not only for Christmas with two kids, but also for the Riverdale Farm Christmas pageant, that my friends Mary and Stephen and I produced for nine years. Right now we’d be rushing around doing last minute preparations, before heading out to the Farm – Sam to be a Wise Man, standing on a picnic table wearing a bathrobe with a dishcloth on his head, Anna to be the Star – walking ahead of the crowd, holding up a large wicker star on a pole. And I to fret hither and yon about costumes, cues, and the animals – why can’t the donkey be in this stall rather than that? And then, after seeing hundreds of people follow the star and sing carols and admire the baby in the straw, after packing it all up and unfreezing at Mary’s gorgeous Xmas party, home, to make up stockings and get everything under the tree for the morning.

Now that was a busy Xmas Eve.

Now – all is calm, if not so bright. Thank you, Lord.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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