Getting into the holiday spirit and celebrating more 2021 angels

Getting into the holiday spirit and celebrating more 2021 angels

HodgePodge, By Charlie Hodge

It’s looking a lot like Christmas out there.

Few effects say ‘festive’ like visually brilliant coloured lights and tinsel brightening up a winter’s evening. Lights splattered throughout our snow covered community seem to dance with joy and hope.

Some of my favourite components of this fabulous season are the various magical senses stirred in preparation for the day of giving. Our eyes treated to the multitude of marvelous decorations, noses twitched in temptation by baking of shortbread, mincemeat, turkey and a plethora of other Christmas goodies, taste-buds satisfied by the same treats, and the sounds of Christmas music, laughter and joy in our ears. Wonderful.

Suffice to say I am stoked about the upcoming ten days of Christmas countdown.

Tez and I are particularly excited with the potential for this year’s Christmas since my granddaughter Chelsea and two great grandchildren will hopefully join us at the Christmas table. It’s been a couple of quiet COVID Christmases and some youthful Christmas excitement will be good for the old bones of this house. Even our four cats will likely be happy with the uptake in action and activity when the grandkids arrive – after the initial ‘stranger-alert’ wears off.

Regardless, Tez and I are already counting our blessings as we decorate the house and our hearts.

As mentioned often before, yet never enough, Tez and I are truly blessed with so many angels in our lives. Tez acknowledged a few of her personal angels last week before space ran out.

The top angel in my world (next to Tez) is lifelong brother by choice Curtis Tulman. HodgePodge readers are familiar with the endless lashing of praise I have for the man, yet I’m thrilled to say he deserves every bit of it. I constantly marvel at his patience and kindness for others – clearly another aspect which led him to his career as a pastor.

In more than 40 years of friendship I can honestly attest I have never heard the man be rude or mean to anyone. Amazing, wise, sensitive, intuitive and certainly inspirational.

Curtis maintains that as a pastor he works alongside other marvelous folks. His Christmas angel list includes: Chaplain Jacki Barbour, volunteer coordinator Brenda Shepherd and all the staff and volunteers for Baptist Housing in Kelowna. In addition he lists Caliegh Brown (activities coordinator), Hailey Desousa (reception) and all the staff at Chartwell Chatsworth Retirement Residence, Bonnie Scott (activities coordinator), Dianne Anutooshkin (reception), Nicole Gottgetrue (reception), Farid Nouisser (manager) and all the staff at Orchard Gardens Seniors Community. Last but not least for Curtis is Kate Warkentin of Oyama Sunblush Bakery “for preparing such excellent feasts for the Seniors Christmas Banquets at Willow Park Church.”

There are numerous other Hodge ‘angels’ that also help our community in many ways. The list will have to continue into the new year but here are a few for now.

Les Thompson spent multiple hours helping me with yard and house work, being my lungs and legs on many projects. Les also spent so much time vlunteerng with the local Salvation Army that he wound up working for them. Huge heart. Thanks Les.

Recently retired firefighter Larry Hollier has a huge heart matching his large frame. Larry quietly helps others all the time – dodging praise in the process.

Thanks to Irma Sutherland and Mary Yeager for their effort in creating a webpage for my book Lost Souls of Lakewood. It’s listed under and is a project still in development phase but worthy of my special thanks.

Dr. Bronwyn Carroll, lung specialist Dr. Graeme McCauley, and respiratory therapist Todd Gale have all gone well beyond above and beyond their medical rolls to keep me alive and making noise. While some may not thank them for that – I certainly do.

Meghan Muhle is relatively new in my world but as a physio-therapist and caring person she is top shelf. Mohini Singh is not only a great co-worker at City Hall but has a huge heart and has helped me so much. Thanks Mohini.

Ralph Krehbiel is an angel in how he helps others – again truly ‘above and beyond, in sickness and in health’ including his lovely partner Arlene. Other angels I must mention briefly include: Louise McGauley, Janice and Clay Horan, Brad Krauza, Jan Johnston, Sandy Horning, Peter at Independent Grocer, Aleisha and Michael Neil at Mosaic Books, Jim Krahn and Dan Thiessen.

A few readers’ Angel submissions finish up today’s column.

Faye Stroo of Kelowna nominates her next door neighbour Stretch Laliberte.

“Not only are he and his wife fantastic neighbours I call Stretch my ‘yard Angel.’ For the past several years he has freely and joyfully given of his time and energy to the yard work I find too much to handle since my husband passed. He looks after trimming trees, shrubs, getting rid of yard waste (including the many leaves in the fall) and even shovels the show off my sidewalk and driveway. Thanks much Stretch.”

Reader Donna Cutti writes: “Please consider my sister, Sharon Niblow on your list. Sharon has been a caregiver to our brother with Down’s Syndrome and other clients for more than 25 years. She also has an uncanny sense of how and when to help friends and seniors. Sharon is an animal lover and owner.”

Merry Christmas – more angels next week.

Getting into the holiday spirit with 2021 Angel submissions

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.


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