HodgePodge: Christmas Eve & Finding Angels

Christmas Eve & Finding Angels

HodgePodge by Charlie Hodge

Most of us have a variety of traditions we celebrate throughout the year, such as Christmas, Christmas eve, Boxing Day…

Lifelong marriages and families often generate the same fun family, perhaps adding to their routines as the family grows. Others with blended families or more than one marriage or relationship may have a number of enjoyable habits that celebrate the festive season. Certainly, I do.

Tez and I, as mentioned before, are Christmas-holichs and have comfortably blended our different quirks and habits into a few days of enjoyable and meaningful fun … tradition. We squeeze as much festive flair out of the month of December as we can rationalizing the celebrations as within the ‘spirit’ of Christmas.

One of my favourite traditions is Christmas baking. I will start trying to take part in the task in about an hour, however the reality is I will wind up doing diddly-squat when it comes to the actual baking. I will start off strong in floating about the kitchen saying “I want to help make the short bread or mincemeat tarts”. Truth is inevitably it will be Tez who seizes the day kicking me into the dining room and out of “her” kitchen.

I will be sidelined to putting on the icing sugar and sprinkles.

At different points during the few days surrounding Christmas day I will enjoy a few traditions. One of my favourites is playing a horse race board game involving five or six other friends or family who move ‘their’ horses around a board based on dice rolls. I built my own version for Christmas time and call it Cranberry Downs.

A few evenings before Christmas Tez and I bundle up with hot chocolate, grab our Christmas CD’s (yes we still have them) hop in the car and travel around town admiring all the breathtaking house decorations.

Christmas Eve, however, is the big day of tradition for me. Tez’s family traditions includes opening one gift that night – which is just fine with this kid.”

“For some reason, that tradition excites me most about Christmas aside from whatever guest may show up for dinner,” Tez smiles. “We did that as a child and I just carried it forward with my kids.”

Hopefully her son Arthur from Vancouver will join us Christmas Eve along with our grandson Max – making the night and gift opening that much more magical. Max is six and therefore qualifies as the perfect Christmas gift to have given to us for the day, hour, night … however long we get tp see him.

One thing guaranteed is that I will find a half hour or hour, find a quiet corner, and hide away with my thoughts. It is a special escape for me to contemplate my world, the past year, the things I need to be thankful for, and the dreams moving forward.

I hide in a corner for an hour or so.

One of the foremost folks in my mind during that hour or so will be dear friend Gene Carr. Sadly ‘Geno’ died late last week in Los Angeles following traumatic major surgery on his spine. Apparently, his heart was too weakened by the years of pain he suffered following hockey injuries and a serious car crash. I’m a bit rattled by it; he was a good friend.

Those close to Geno are accepting the news with mixed emotions knowing what a fine fellow he was, yet how his world was marred by the pain he dealt with and the medications needed to help deal with it. For those familiar with the name – Carr was a superstar Canadian junior hockey player who thrilled Kelowna Buckaroo fans for two years before moving up to the Flin Flon Bombers and later the NHL.

I was informed about Geno’s demise by former Buckaroo teammates Dave Cousins and Pat McMahon.

“Geno was a great hockey player and even greater friend. I am having a difficult time with this loss,” McMahon told me.

More thoughts on Gene and Patty in a column soon.

Speaking of Angels a brief reminder that I am gathering names of Angels for Charlie’s Christmas Angels List so please get them to me soon. Angels, as all regular HodgePodge readers know, are those folks highlighted or anointed for their kind actions, deeds, or hearts. A friend, spouse, work mate, family member … someone has deemed them worthy of thanks for something they have done. It’s not so much the deed or the action – it’s the thought.

We all know an angel or two when we think about it. Just this evening Tez and I went for an appy and drink at Browne’s’ Station where the waitress (Bailey) was deliciously sweet – and generous, buying us a drink. That’s never happened to me before.

Finding Angels are not that difficult and HodgePodge readers know who they are. They deserve you letting us know about them so – hop to it asap and send me their names and why they deserve your appreciation.

Just email me at charliehodge333@gmail.com.

Then go out and have yourself a very, very, very Merry Christmas.

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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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