A friend asked to hear, in their own words, how my parents liked their visit to Yellowknife over the holidays. My dad, whom I call a bad Canadian, is not a fan of winter at the best of times, so I thought it was amazing that he would even consider coming. It was touch and go at the end, as while he was in the Edmonton airport there was a flight leaving for Cancun, and he was nearly sucked into that plane by the thought of those lovely warm Mexican temperatures. When they arrived I was so excited to take them out to cut down the tree, (see previous post My Charlie Brown Christmas Tree) and we had a lovely time. What I didn’t realize at the time was that our electronic thermometer wasn’t working correctly and was reading about 10 degrees warmer than the actual temperature. So I dragged them out in some pretty cold weather! But being the wonderful troopers that they are ( I mean that figuratively of course, my dad wouldn’t actually voluntarily troop anywhere on foot, although he’d always be up for a gas powered journey) they made the best of it.
As I was driving them to the airport on their way home, I asked everyone what their favorite part of the holiday had been. Mine was cutting down our own Christmas tree and bringing it home by dog powered sled. My mom loved best the dog sled ride we had on Christmas eve day. It was a very cold day and I’m sure with the wind on the open sled the temperature must have been close of minus 50. We were hugely bundled up, and lined up close to each other on the sled, and tucked in under warm sleeping bags, so we were warm enough. It was fun being out on the small open lakes, in sunshine, watching the scenery.
Martin’s favorite part of the holiday was the dinner we were invited out for on Christmas eve. We had dinner out on the lake! We weren’t really sure what to expect of a dinner in a tent, in winter, on the ice, in the dark, but it was actually very luxurious. Imagine a canvas walled traditional prospector style tent, but complete with stove, carpet, Christmas lights and a tree, music, and a table laden with beautifully decorated dishes. It was warm and comfortable, but when the 5 course meal appeared, including the main dish of Cornish game hen, we thought we”d died and gone to heaven. It was a wonderfully memorable dinner.
So, with all these wonderful events, what was George’s favorite memory? It was the night the rest of us when to the movies, and he stayed home. Now George is not a stay at home type – he is very social, so it was hard to see why he loved that evening. Turns out it was because he had ultimate control of the wood stove, which was roaring, and the house warmed up to 25 degrees! Here is his version of his visit, from the horse’s mouth:
Yellowknife Christmas, A Frozen Verse
The weather outside was cold and frightful
The wood stove inside was glowing and delightful
We had a lotta places to see and go
So Tandi trudged us through the frost and frozen snow.
We had to do some late hour Christmas shopping,
At 40 below there’s not much time for stopping
Something with fur seems to be the norm
To hopefully help keep your body parts WARM.
This week, the Northern lights failed to show
We looked everywhere for their faintest frozen glow
We’ll have to go back some year for another look
Or be happy with the pictures in our book.
The moon was out each night in cold and splendid glory
Which brought some special light to this story.
The temperatures were mighty blood cold,
It is truly a land for the brave and the BOLD.
We had a wonderful time with all the neighbours and friends
And a slim chance we’d make the winter trip again
More likely when the lake turns to water in spring
We’ll probably head up that long road again.
After a week of dog sledding, hiking, visiting and bliss
It is a time of year we’re glad we didn’t miss.
As we were delivered to the airport to head for the farm
Tandi said “ it’s only minus 29 today and warm”
So YK winter Christmas was a great time and lotsa fun
And now we’ve thawed out in the Okanagan sun
So here is where this story ends
It’ll take all year to prime us up again.
George, January 2013.
Of course I love this poem, but if you know George, its all the more surprising as he not your basic literary type, as you might have guessed.