When I was growing up there was an older man who was a bachelor who lived down the road from us. He had spent all of his years with his parents on the family farm and had never travelled further than 20 miles from his home in his entire life. He drove a 1957 yellow Chevy truck that had never gone faster than 40km/hour. He had never married and stayed with his mother until she passed away when I was about 8 years old.
Life on the farm 30 years ago was simpler than how we know it to be today. Nobody thought of any evil that could befall a child so my brother and I often popped in to see old George when he was gardening in the summer or even for a tea in the winter. His home was only a mile away and he always had a cookie for us and a great story so we visited often and we even hung out to watch soap operas on television. He told us about jewellery that had come from pirates and had kept clippings from the Queen’s visit to Canada for decades. He told us about a good horse he once had, and how a visitor had come from Manitoba once and he even lamented about the woman he should have married many years before. Most of the adults in his life had no time for him because he talked too much but my brother James and I were intrigued with his antiques and his yarns about people who had long since disappeared from his life.
Our parents also had a fondness for George and would invite him to join the family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. He had a very sensitive stomach and ate little but he always tried a shortbread cookie that I had baked for him and I would have to hear the same story about his Mother’s baking while he ate it. One year George even brought a special gift for me. It was a beautiful blond walking doll that went delightfully with another one that my parents had bought for me. I remember being so excited about it.
As a young adult after leaving home I still made the trip to see George at Christmas time when I was home visiting the farm. Until one year it came to an end because he finally passed on himself and then all that was left was the memory.
I hope that you stop long enough in life to find a George. I hope that you share the blessings of the festivities with someone who does not have anyone else to share with. I hope that you treasure their stories and hear their heart. And mostly I hope that the memory warms every Christmas thereafter.