From The Horses Mouth

 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.


Tent, Outside View

Minus 30 Isn't So Hard!

Minus 30 Isn’t So Hard After All!

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.

The Christmas Fur (Fox)

The Christmas Fur (Fox)

About Tandi

I love my morning coffee, reading, the wilderness, paddling, poetry, my Spanish husband, and being a doctor. I also love writing my blog, and reading yours.
This entry was posted in North of 60, Poetry and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to From The Horses Mouth

  1. Garry says:

    Beautiful post…again, and wonderful poem from your Dad !

    • Tandi says:

      I agree Garry, although I hope his success doesn’t go to his head. He told me this morning that several people told him he should be a poet. I replied that his mother’s opinion can’t count, as she might be biased….:)

  2. dearrosie says:

    I’m with George. I would’ve stayed home by the woodstove! But I love the sound of the sleigh ride and I can’t imagine how you kept warm in a tent?

    I didn’t realize you’d grown up in Canada. With your exotic name I thought you came from somewhere in Africa. What does your name mean?

    • Tandi says:

      We were actually too hot in the tent. It was insulated and had a carpet, and a small stove for heat that was working vigorously. I wasn’t expecting that, I can tell you.

      My Dad read my name somewhere before I was born, but he can’t remember where. I have heard from South African friends that it is common in certain black communities there, and means one who is loved. My parents did alter the spelling, which I think is usually Tandee, or Tandy. Its quite a wonderful name I think, and I enjoy having one the is relatively unique. I haven’t met many in Canada.

      • dearrosie says:

        I can’t imagine feeling too hot in a tent in the frozen north! Its amazing how man has adapted to living up there.
        When I first met you I thought you were South African because Tandi (spelled Thandi.with a silent “h” like ‘Thames’) is a Zulu name and yes it means the loved one. It is a lovely name.

  3. Rhonda Staples says:

    I love reading your blog Tandi!! Especially the updates that include Karen and George!! I miss you all. Hi to you and Martin!

    • Tandi says:

      Hi Rhonda, How nice to hear from you! Don’t worry, there are lots of interesting things to say about George and Karen, more to come for sure! XO

  4. shoreacres says:

    I keep getting caught by the wonderful similarities between sand and snow. Now there’s another – the sight of that tent, and the memories of the tents in desert Africa.

    Your folks’ trip makes me smile. After my dad retired, they had planned to go to Arizona. One day Dad wandered into the kitchen and said, “As long as we’re going all the way to Arizona, why don’t we go to Liberia and visit Linda”. And so they did.

    The poem’s great. I had to stop and ponder, though. George stays home, cranks up the woodstove, and gets it to 25 degrees. Uh……

    Has your propane ungelled yet?

    • Tandi says:

      Hi Linda!

      The propane is mostly running these days, but it needs a bit of managing at -35. Although there is a warm spell this week. And remember, that 25 degrees is celsius, so very warm and pleasant. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s