Yuletide is a season of traditions, some old, some new. We’re going to share one or two with you as our way of a holiday post.
We’ve been listening to The Shepherd on the radio almost every Christmas Eve. For those not familiar with the CBC, or As It Happens, here’s the backstory. As It Happens is a CBC radio program that since 1979 has aired either on Christmas Eve, or as close to it as possible, a short story by Fredrick Forsyth called The Shepherd. It is a reading by the late Alan Maitland of the story of a RAF flyer in 1957 taking a Christmas Even flight home from Germany in a DH 100 Vampire single seat jet fighter. The story by Fredrick Forsythe is part redemption, a narrative of faith and a great historical ghost story, all set on Christmas Eve.
We turn down the lights in the house, turn up the radio, or the computer and sit for a half-hour, listening to the magic of radio as Forsyth’s words and Maitland’s voice weave story in our minds more vivid that any presentation in 4K HD and THX audio. In an interesting twist of history, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum has a DH 100 Vampire and a DH 98 Mosquito as part of the collection, not a dozen kilometers from here.
Even though we have heard The Shepherd dozens of times and can nearly quote it verbatim, it still brings a chill and then a warmth that is our Christmas Even tradition. We can’t do it justice so go to the CBC site, here and listen for yourself.
The second tradition was started about fifteen years ago, as a way to spread the load of the holiday season. Ourselves and another couple take it in turns to host the Christmas Day dinner, adjourning to each others houses for the feast. Some years it is the traditional turkey and other years a more contemporary tasting table. There is always too much to drink and too much to eat, but the fellowship and close personal ties between us and any strays we round up provide an evening of warmth, laughter and closeness that is about as good as it gets. It is the highlight of the season.
If you have a mind as twisted as ours, we will suggest Cards Against Humanity, the Canadian Edition, as a way to tighten your abs to work off the Christmas dinner. We still hurt this morning from laughing hard enough to cause damage.
To our friends, distant, near, online, and real world, we wish you happiness and joy this holiday season and hope that you find your moments of warmth, joy and closeness with those who mean much to you.
In the words of Joe the old batman from The Shepherd, Happy Christmas.