Our Montreal Christmas is a very special time in our family for many reasons. One being the memories of our grandmother and family get-togethers from way back when…our grandmother was from Edinburgh, Scotland
As my mother tells it, our grandmother could do everything. And she could! She knit dresses, coats, and sweaters. She sewed doll clothes, winter coats with fur trim, and even my mom’s wedding dress, and more. It helped that she was frugal, wise and an accomplished needlewoman…especially during the days of the depression. She would always have my grandpa looking his best, no matter the circumstances. She would detach my grandpa’s collars and cuffs from his work shirts, and turn them around and stitch them up…extending the life to every shirt… all while saving money…Heck she even created a rockery in her Toronto Don Valley garden with her son, Uncle Fred. And she could mix colors for her own paint..and cure her children’s colds with a mug of hot water and a stir of blackberry jam.
It is this same woman that was the heart of our Montreal Christmas in our childhhood. At Christmas, when my sister, cousin and I were children, our grandmother and grandpa drove to Montreal from Toronto…their car laden down with baked good, knitted good, and gifts from our Christmas wish lists…sewn doll clothes, handmade stuffed animals…and special treats for the table and more.
Her baking was extraordinary….I think she may even have invented shortbread it tasted so good. She is the one who introduced me to butterballs..and I don’t mean the turkeys..I mean a piece of butter rolled up in brown sugar..what a treat…still…
When I sew, I think of her…as I’m sure my cousin does as she knits, and my sister and mom do as they bake. This Christmas, like the ones gone by, we will remember her with the smell of baking from the kitchen, the new creations of my cousin, and the loose strands of thread giving a little hint of what I sewed wrapped up under the Christmas tree.