Right from the beginning Ric has felt very welcome in the homes of my sisters, nieces and nephews so we planned a 'split Christmas' in 2005. First we flew independently from Toronto and San Francisco to Kamloops where we spent a few days at the home of my niece, Teri Denis. As luck would have it, Teri's husband, Paul, was able to get an early Christmas break from his work in Drayton Valley, Alberta so he was able to join us for the gift exchange.
On the following day, my oldest sister, Alda, drove down from 100 Mile House and took us back up there for the balance of the holiday. We had been to Kamloops at around Christmas once before and there was no snow. This time, however, there was quite a bit of snow at both Kamloops and at 100 Miles House.
The North Thompson River as seen from behind Teri and Paul's home
The highways were clear of snow so traveling along them was no problem.
Alda still owned the house where they were living when her husband, Leo, died so it was familiar to Ric and I. Alda's youngest daughter - Karen - and her daughter, Amber, lived a mere block or two away while Alda's youngest son, his wife - Patti - and two daughters lived to the north in 108 Mile House. These two families were with us most of the time.
Karen and Amber owned a pair of Yorkshire Terriers and they - with their litter of three puppies - were also at Alda's home and we enjoyed their company very much.
As shown in the blog "A Dog Called Rex" puppies seem to think that Ric's fingers are good teething tools.
Christmas Eve was spent with Alda's youngest son - Todd - and his family - at their home north of 100 Mile where they were hosting an open house. As Ric has a fine singing voice and was willing to donate his talent to either the Anglican or Roman Catholic Church for the Christmas Eve service, Alda asked among her friends if Ric's talent would be appreciated? As one of her friends is a member of the choir at the Roman Catholic Church, she gladly welcomed Ric to be a part of the Mass. He left Alda's house first in order to meet the priest and to get in a rehearsal while Alda and I left later in order to be a part of the congregation.
We misunderstood the time for the Mass to begin so we were some fifteen minutes late and, as Ric sang at the beginning of the Mass, we missed his contribution to the service. As we were late we sat near the back of the church and I was appalled.
The priest was a late middle-aged Filipino man who seemed to not have heard of Vatican II - his method of delivery and his theology were so out of date. Alda was surprised when I refused to go forward during communion while Ric - after we were back at Alda's home and had gone to bed - burst into tears. His gift was for naught!
Patti's parents - Todd's in-laws - arrived later to spend the rest of the day with us. The table was beautifully set in Alda's dining room and it looked so much like the table that our Mom used to set - and the food was very much a "Lacasse Christmas Dinner".
My gift from Alda moved me very much. Both Mom's and Grandma's photo albums had come to her so she had many of the photos laser copied and placed into another album for me.
On Boxing Day Alda drove us back to Kamloops so Ric and I could catch our respective flights back to our homes.