2013 greetings and musings

Written by  //  February 14, 2014  //  Nicholson musings and messages  //  No comments

Bo's Chinese New Year caligraphy.
As one (or at least, we) grow older, it appears that time management skills diminish. This has certainly been the case with the annual Christmas/seasonal musings. What should have been delivered as a mid-December missive, along with many others, became a project for the eve of 2014. However, events intervened and so we have settled on a slightly belated Chinese New Year greeting. This delay allows us to  admire the wonderful calligraphy of our grandson Tebo whose original message is “Wishing You Happiness Everyday”.
Hallmark couldn’t craft a better wish for the Year of the Wooden Horse!

Year-of-the-Snake-2013

2013 – and/or the Year of the Snake

To mix cultural metaphors – and practices – as we look back, the year appears as an Advent Calendar, a series of magical doors that open to reveal an occasion of significance, or simply a moment or image that has touched our emotions.

The year is bookended by two major events.
RJG13 0223 Diamond Jubilee MedalsLRes 01 _37 (2) Photo by Robert G. Galbraith

In February, David was honored with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

The Citation reads in part:

But undoubtedly his greatest and most important achievement was when he and his wife created the Wednesday Night Salon in 1982. In its more than three decades of existence, the salon has developed a reputation as the place to be for dialogue and discussion, hosting professionals from a range of cultural, political and linguistic backgrounds.

The simple and dignified ceremony was held at Victoria Hall in Westmount; our Member of Parliament and friend Marc Garneau, who was Canada’s first astronaut, presented the medals to David and the other recipients. The photo of us with Marc and Mayor Peter Trent, also a good friend and our former neighbor on Rosemount Avenue, was taken by yet another friend and our favorite photojournalist, Robert Galbraith.
The most heartwarming aspect of the entire event was the messages received from so many friends of all ages and walks of life who were so obviously delighted for David. A number of them are posted on the website and re-reading them gives us both great pleasure.

On December 20th we embarked on a marvelous adventure: flying to Banff, Alberta for our first-ever Christmas Clan Gathering for the extended family at the magical fairy-tale castle, the Banff Springs Hotel. Our incredible daughter-in-law, Jean, had organized all of us from her busy perch in Singapore, while Fiona mastered local transportation and served as tour guide and camp director. The weather was perfect (while the East was beseiged by a massive winter storm with power loss and misery for many); the hotel, which was celebrating its 125th anniversary, was decorated to the hilt and it was certainly the most memorable Christmas we have ever enjoyed.
One unexpected treat was the dog-friendly hotel policy that not only ensured meeting well-behaved 4-feet of all sizes and shapes, but also had the advantage of giving many strangers an excuse to start a conversation, creating a seasonally appropriate convivial ambiance in elevators and hallways. There is even an afternoon guided dog walk, but sadly no-one would lend us a dog for the outing.

Too soon, we had to break camp and return to reality.
Christmas Eve Family dinner party

Otherwise, it was a quietly eventful year, dominated by the weekly demands of the Wednesday Night Salon (obviously after the Award, we are not permitted flagging efforts) which celebrated its 1665th iteration as the Year of the Horse opened. The first Wednesday Night of 2013 on January 2nd –actually still in the Year of the Dragon – was an auspicious and highly entertaining start, with the participation of Terry Mosher, the widely acclaimed cartoonist Aislin, his wife Mary Hughson and their enchanting 4-foot companion, Sparky. Terry and Mary set the bar very high for future guests as he regaled us with stories of his long career, aided and abetted by our mutual friend John Curtin, who directed and produced the film biography of Aislin, Dangerous When Provoked.

As is inevitable at our age, we lost some dear friends whom we continue to miss and, at least one who was a major influence in Diana’s early days in Montreal.  Less expected, we happily reconnected  with one or two who had been missing from our lives for a long time. For this we are truly thankful. One  connection stands out – the arrival  in August of our cousin Admiral Cynthia (Cindy) Thébaud in Singapore as Commander, Task Force 73 (CTF 73) and Navy Region Singapore (NRS) for U.S. forces. She graciously invited Marc to the change-of command ceremonies and soon, she and her husband  became friends of Marc and Jean and she treated Maya and Tebo to a marvelous tour of one of the USN aircraft carriers, a visit that will no doubt be a highpoint in their memories. We were particularly touched by this new connection between Cindy and Marc as Cindy’s father and uncle were good friends to us and her grandfather and my father were very close.

David has always been the early adopter in the family, but Diana has joyously plunged into  in  the technology of emails, websites and Facebook which have enabled us to reestablish, or remain in contact with so many friends of all ages around the world. The ability to share news, opinions, personal thoughts and photos in real time is a precious gift to our generation that grew up with the less timely (reliable?) postal service. We look forward to continuing to enjoy the personal benefits of such technological advances which, of course, we can do only if there is reciprocal communication!

We send loving thoughts and wishes and the hope that 2014 will be kind to us all  bringing many happy reunions, either virtual or in person.

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