Nowell's Notes

24 Oct 2018
Area E Election – Close Finish

Area E Election – Close Finish

Travels on the Campaign Trail

by Nowell Berg

The local government elections in Area E are now complete.

Only 34% of eligible voters completed a ballot on voting day.

Table One shows the breakdown of the 496 votes cast in Area E from two advanced polls, mail-in and two voting locations on election day, Oct 20th.

Table One

   N. Berg          J. Walkley          J. Walter          Total

Advance 1                      42                     9                    13                64

Advance 2                      32                     7                    45                84

Wasa                               65                    37                   55               157

Meadowbrook               46                    32                  107             185

Mail-in                               2                      0                      4                  6

Total                             187                     85                 224              496

Percentage                  38%                  17%                45%

The incumbent, Jane Walter, won re-election for another four year term. Congratulations.

Fifty-five percent (55%) of votes cast were not for Walter. Her share of the vote dropped from 66% in 2011 to 45% this time.

The campaign began September 24th. During the following weeks, I knocked on over 320 doors and traveled over 560km to reach those doors.

I spent time in all regions of Area E – St. Mary Lake, Wycliffe, Meadowbrook, Ta Ta Creek, Skookumchuck Prairie, Premier Lake and Wasa – listening to residents.

I met a wide range of fascinating people raising families, enjoying retirement, working at various jobs along with running businesses, ranches and farms. Everyone spoke candidly about various concerns for Area E which they only want to see thrive, prosper and remain as beautiful as it is.

Over the next several months, I’ll be profiling many of these people and the unique business and career activities they have chosen to undertake here in Area E.

Democracy is an excellent way to govern, but its only as good as the voters who show up and cast a ballot.

The success and effectiveness of local government is only as strong as the input it receives from citizens. If that input is not respected nor accepted by local government, then they are not legitimate and become autocratic.

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4 Oct 2018
Election Forum

Election Forum

The Meadowbrook Community Association (MCA) held an all candidates forum held Oct 3 at the Elks Hall in Kimberley. Moderator-Jim Webster; Timer-Marie Kohlman

Almost 50 people participated in the forum that was live streamed on the MCA Facebook page.

Forum moderator Jim Webster sets the stage

Candidates presented opening remarks and then answered questions from the MCA Board and the audience. Questions covered topics such as highways, RDEK procedures, land use, water supply and residential fire protection.

Candidate Berg answers a question on RDEK proceedures

Here are the prepared remarks I made to the audience.

Hello ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for participating tonight.

I’m Nowell Berg. I’m a candidate for Area E Director.

The rural mountain lifestyle is one to behold and embrace. As you know, its much different than living in Cranbrook or Kimberley.

Waking up this morning, looking out at Tee Pee Mtn … all that fresh snow really took my breath away.

The near freezing temperatures didn’t help, but seasons change and we’re used to that.

Our little corner of the world is truly a special place to live and work, raise a family or grow a business.

The reason why I am a candidate in this election?

I want to give you a chance to vote, to have a choice in who represents you on the RDEK Board.

I’m qualified to be Director of Area E because I live here year round.

I participate in the community and fund raising events.

I understand what it means to live in a rural area.

It means we depend on each other. We roll up our sleeves and help those in need.

Wanda and I have a neighbour across the road who’s in poor health and uses wood heat This past spring, I noticed his wood pile getting low. We headed out … felled 4 trees, bucked them up and hauled them back to his place. He and I have been doing that a couple times per month … when he’s well enough to get into the bush.

Spending a few hours out there working with your hands, breaking a sweat, its a tonic in and of itself.

Remember two winters ago when we had so much snow, especially in Feb, 2 feet in a week. You know what it was like, we were buried, deep.

Instead of waiting who knows how long for a snowplow, I helped out several neighbours. One, a 92-year old widow who’s driveway was completely blocked. I went over with the snow blower and cleared it out so she could get to town for a medical appointment.

My campaign for Area E Director is about:


The success and effectiveness of local government can only be as strong as the input from you.

If elected, I will send you accurate and quality information about District plans and intentions for land use and zoning, new bylaws or changes to existing ones … along with new business applications and any intention to change business regulations.

This will happen before the Board makes any decision so that you have the chance to understand what may or may not happen. Then you can provide me with a response, positive or negative. I encourage both.

I will communicate directly with you to gather your input, your solutions and your ideas on how RDEK activities impact you, your family, your property, your business and the community.

There are no bad ideas or wrong solutions … except the ones that are never heard.

Area E is unique. It contains diverse rural communities each with there own issues and concerns that need to be heard and delivered to the District Board.

I am very excited about starting a different way of making local government work for you … by applying new ways of communication, understanding your position on local issues and Regional District plans … and making them heard.

I will be an effective representative and strong advocate for you.

This campaign is about communication.

Let me say it again, the success and effectiveness of local government can only be as strong as the input from you.

If you want a new way for local government to work … for your voice to be heard … then I need your vote.

On Oct 20th please mark an X beside my name.

I’m Nowell Berg.

I want to be your Area E Director.


After the forum, I got a chance to meet area residents.

Talking with a Meadowbrook resident about her concerns


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22 Sep 2018
RDEK Election Candidate – Area E Director

RDEK Election Candidate – Area E Director

Nowell Berg announces candidacy for Area E Director in the up-coming RDEK elections. “If you want effective representation, then you need to vote for me,” he said. “Regular meetings with residents and community groups will be held to gather comments, ideas and input. People will be heard. I will listen to what you have to say.”

A long-time Wasa resident, Nowell lives with his wife, Wanda, on family property owned since 1949. Nowell’s parents, Burt and Vivian, always said “Wasa is our home.” He has deep roots in Area E spending summers, school holidays and long-weekends at Wasa. He’s enjoyed the challenge of climbing TeePee Mountain along with snow skiing, water skiing, hiking, biking, swimming and fishing in the area.

With a strong educational background in government and politics, Nowell’s participation in the local community includes over 3 years as a Trustee on the Board of the Wasa Lake Land Improvement District (WLLID). He volunteers to write the feature article each month for the Tri-Village Buzz along with supporting local fundraising activities.

Nowell is a candidate because:

  • The Area E Director must represent all residents, even those with differing points of view, and work collaboratively toward fair compromise solutions
  • A Director must be accountable and transparent along with providing effective representation on the RDEK Board when they take a position that has significant opposition from Area E residents

Nowell will work with residents, community groups and businesses to secure RDEK, CBT, Provincial and Federal funding for local projects and programs.

Particular issues of interest: rural fire prevention and suppression, waste management and transfer station maintenance, educational opportunities for rural students, encouraging young families to remain in the area by supporting home-based businesses, effective RDEK Bylaw enforcement and enhanced RCMP patrols throughout the area.

His professional business experience includes sales, marketing and corporate communications for a variety of companies in the Canadian energy, marketing research and media sectors.

To learn more about the campaign, to donate or volunteer, please contact Nowell: 250 4223575;; Facebook @nowellberg

Area E Candidate – Nowell Berg

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9 Jun 2018
Jet Girrl and Mr. Bizzaro: Surviving Natural Disaster

Jet Girrl and Mr. Bizzaro: Surviving Natural Disaster

Read all about it!

The story of how Jet Girrl and Mr. Bizzaro survive the flood of 2013.

They fight Town corruption to find justice where greed attempts to prevail.

Check it out at this link:

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3 Nov 2017
Lost Souls

Lost Souls

Awakened from a lucid dream where his soul mate pushes her index finger into his heart, a 32 year-old emotionally wounded carpenter battles his sub-conscious, his brother, the parish priest and an obsessed psychiatrist with a dark secret to find and love the woman of his dreams.

The e-book is available at Amazon here, and Kobo here.


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22 Sep 2017
Kite Hydrofoil Whiz

Kite Hydrofoil Whiz

Richard Zurrin grew up in Thompson, Manitoba, never thinking he’d be soaring with the birds at Wasa Lake. He moved to Cranbrook in 1991 and currently works as a forestry consultant.

Five years ago, after his brothers took up kite boarding, Zurrin chose a kite hydrofoil board which has an extension on the bottom that allows for faster speeds and higher jumps.

His personal highest jump has been 38 feet.

The hydrofoil board has a built in sensor that records the distance off the waters surface. The hydrofoil reduces the effect of choppy and rough water conditions.

Now Zurrin “follows the wind [where he can] get on the water, ocean and lakes, and see it from a different perspective.”

Another reason to chase the wind, Zurrin gets to kite hydrofoil in “some beautiful places in the world” including Cuba, Mexico and Oregon.

One of the great things about kite hydrofoil riding is the “sense of freedom” the sport gives him, and the “good community” of riders he’s met from around the world.

Zurrin will continue to follow the wind around the world.

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13 Aug 2017
History’s Historian: A Lady for all times

History’s Historian: A Lady for all times

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11 May 2017
Kimberley City Bakery Wins Prestigious 2017 Jake the Baker Award

Kimberley City Bakery Wins Prestigious 2017 Jake the Baker Award

On April 24th, Bakers Journal, a publication of the Baking Association of Canada, named the winner of the magazine’s 2017 Jake the Baker contest. This years winner is Kimberley City Bakery. Owners Eric And Michelle Forbes were ecstatic about the recent win at the Vancouver Baking Congress.


Michelle and Eric Forbes show off the Jake the Baker plaque

Michelle and Eric Forbes show off the Jake the Baker plaque


For Eric Forbes the award is “like the Junos for us.” He added winning the award “gives us street cred.” All of the dedicated staff at the bakery are under 44 years old.


According to Brian Hartz, Interim Editor of Bakers Journal, the Jake the Baker award is based on how well a bakery does in four categories: 1 – product innovation, 2 – marketing mastery, 3 – community involvement, and 4 – innovations in running the bakery.


Hartz said, “We got so many great entry’s from across Canada.” A panel of three judges reviewed all sixteen (16) contest entrants and their contributions to each of the categories.


While contestant bakeries did well across the board in all categories which made it “extremely difficult to chose” a winner, Hartz said, “Kimberley City definitely rose to the top, all three [judges] were really impressed with them.”


We were really impressed with the way they came up with the Medieval Festival. The way they rallied the whole town, creating a new event for the town. We were really blown away by the marketing of that and how innovative it was.”


As far as the nuts and bolts of running a bakery, they do everything from pastries, breads to wedding cakes and savory meat pies. They’ve gone to great lengths to make their products without additives and preservatives,” said Hartz.


Eric with winning plaque inside the Kimberley City Bakery

Eric with winning plaque inside the Kimberley City Bakery


Forbes purchased a special leavening machine from Italy. Its one of three in North America. The machine allows them to create products without preservatives.


Hartz, “Of the ones who entered the contest they were a cut above. They had a great story to tell.”


Check out all the great photos on their Face Book page. Then travel to Kimberley BC to taste what all the fuss is about.


Custom cake made in their honour provided by Pikanik Bakery in nearby Surrey, B.C. – last year’s winner of the Jake the Baker contest

Custom cake made in their honour provided by Pikanik Bakery, Surrey, B.C. – last year’s winner of the Jake the Baker contest


Kimberley City Bakery – the best bakery in Canada for 2017.

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5 May 2017
Fire Destroys Two Homes at Wasa

Fire Destroys Two Homes at Wasa

Early this morning (5 May 2017), fire started at 4859 Aspen Road, Wasa and quickly spread to the home next door on the West.


It only takes 45 minutes for two homes to be destroyed

It only takes 45 minutes for two homes to be destroyed


Neighbours report seeing “black smoke” just before 7 am followed by an explosion which was later attributed to the blowing of a propane tank valve. A number of outbuildings and parked vehicles were also destroyed.


RCMP on the scene

RCMP on the scene


All occupants of both homes were evacuated safety. Paramedics report no injuries, however, another report suggested an elderly man suffered smoke inhalation. Two families were displaced.


EMS and Paramedics on the scene

EMS and Paramedics on the scene


Smouldering ruins

Smouldering ruins


Larry Gould owner of Mardis Forest Products is the local hero in this story. As soon as he was aware of the fire, around 7am MDT, he dispatched his fire crew and pumper truck from the sawmill to Wasa, almost 11km away. This action greatly helped contain the fire and stop it from spreading further. The area is populated with a dozen homes surrounded by Ponderosa pine forest.


Mardis pumper truck

Mardis pumper truck


Wasa Fire 6


Wasa does not have any fire protection as the RDEK deems the area not suitable for a volunteer fire department due to an aging population and high non-resident ownership. Despite repeated efforts by local Area E Director Jane Walter and residents, the RDEK continues to deny Wasa a fire department.


Wasa Fire 5


Cause of the fire is not known.


Wasa Fire 7


Wasa residents are always on alert and ever vigilant for fire in the area.

Check out the video short video –

The long video –


Wasa Fire 9


Where were the Cranbrook and Kimberley Fire Departments? Were they called? If so, why did they not respond?

Yes the homes may be destroyed, but what about the aftermath to suppress hot spots and control any possible expansion of the fire.

No answers yet, but they will be investigated.


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28 Nov 2016
Christmas Spirit (based on true events)

Christmas Spirit (based on true events)

Wilma and I sit at the kitchen table grazing over breakfast. She asks, “What are your plans?” I take a sip of tea before responding, “Not sure, thinking about Christmas shopping.” “You old fart, why do you leave it to the last two weeks!” All I could do is shrug thinking what’s the rush. I glibly say, “Its not like I’m buying the Taj Mahal, there’s still 12 days to go. “Fred!” she said giving me her patented frown quickly followed by a wink from her left eye. Those hazel eyes always gave me pause to gaze and think, how did I get so lucky.

Can ole Saint Nik fit through this tiny space?

Can ole Saint Nik fit through this tiny space?

Hauling my achy 70 year old carcass out of the oak chair, I look at her with the intensity I did 50 years ago. It hadn’t faded at all. “I’ll get to the mall and cross a few names off a very short list.” I leave the kitchen as she takes a sip of Earl Grey tea from a floral bluebell painted china cup her grand-mother first used in the late 1800s. Who knows how many thousands of gallons of tea we’ve drank.

I head to the front door checking on the mail. Thankfully, we still get it delivered. I pull open the door and push the screen door outwards stepping onto the porch. While reaching for the mail box, I notice a package sitting on the top step. I didn’t think we were expecting a delivery, who knows, its that time of year. I slowly bend over reaching down toward the package hoping my back doesn’t act up. Then I remember what Wilma said, use the knees. Good advice, so I bend down on one knee next to the package. It was then that I realize its wrapped in Christmas paper.

Its not that big, maybe five by eight inches and two inches thick and neatly wrapped in Christmas tree green paper high lighted by clumps of mistletoe and cranberries. A little paper tag shaped like a Santa Claus dangles from a red bow stuck to the upper left corner.

Picking up the package, I reach for the railing and haul myself upright. I look into the mail box, what a surprise, its empty. Usually its full of junk fliers that go straight into the recycle box. I pull the screen door open stepping inside.

Ambling into the kitchen, I see Wilma reading the newspaper. My grand-kids keep telling me that newspapers are online and free. Wilma and I talked about it but decided the real thing was more our style. The oldest grand-daughter laughed when she heard that. I remember her saying, “Grandpa, you don’t have any style.” I scoffed telling the story of wild beatnik days when Wilma and I first got together. The grand kids always groaned when that story came out complaining they’d heard it a million times. And, I always said, here comes one million and one.

I place the Christmas gift on the table, “Expecting a package?”

From behind the paper, Wilma murmurs something I can’t hear.

Please put down the paper, you know I can’t hear so good,” I say.

So good, your mostly deaf,” she laughs setting down the paper. She spots the package, “What’s that?”

It was on the front porch. Who’s it from?” I ask.

How should I know! Did you look on the tag?.”

I reach for the tag flip it over. In blue ink and a very neat script, it reads, “A sweet Christmas treat.” I read it out loud.

Who would just drop it off and not deliver it in person,” she said while reaching for the package needing to inspect it. “You didn’t make that up did you, that’s what it says?”

I hand the package to her, saying, “Hey” with attitude. The sub-text being that if I had wanted to pull a prank it would have been a lot better than this one.

Wilma reads the tag. Frowning she looks at me, “What should we do with it?”

I say lets open it, a sweet treat,” I exclaim.

Its not Christmas, 12 days to go,” she says.

I reply, “Its a surprise from, who? Who would just leave a Christmas present on the front porch?”

Probably one of the neighbours.” Wilma inspects the tag flipping it over looking for clues. She turns her head to look at me. The left corner of her mouth makes a small twitch.

I smile at her, “It is Christmas.”

She uses immaculately manicured finger nails to slice the tape off the end and back of the package. She unfolds the Christmas paper, “Ohhh!” Lifting out a light brown box tied in a dark green ribbon, she eyes the little sticker holding the top closed. She shows it to me. It reads: Galbraith’s hand-made chocolate.

Wilma looks me in the eye, “Keep your fingers out of this. Save it for the grand kids.” She nods her head for emphasis.

Why does everything have to be for the kids? Don’t I get a little fun and happiness once in awhile!”

No. Now get outta here so I can clean up,” she commands.

The next morning after breakfast, I push open the front door reaching for the mail box and lifting the lid. Today the junk mail barely makes room for three Christmas cards. It takes two hand fulls to pull the stuff out and then turn toward the door. I almost missed it.

Another beautifully wrapped Christmas gift sits on the top step of the porch. This time the package is tall, four or five inches square like a box used for a bottle of single malt Scotch. My heart skips a beat at the thought. The wrapping paper depicts an outdoor Christmas scene with skaters on a pond, kids tobogganing, families standing around an outdoor fire and a decorated fir tree.

I pick it up, noticing it was lighter than the one from yesterday. I guess its not a bottle.

Setting it on the kitchen table, I clear my throat.

Wilma looks up from the paper. Her mouth moves silently uttering, “Wow!!!” Without hesitating she uses a table knife to cut the tape and unwraps the box. She pops open the top looking in. “Ohh!!!,” she exclaims while gently lifting out a star topped cardboard Christmas tree festooned with various types of coloured tea pouches. Wilma gets up from the table heading to the living room where she sets the Christmas tea tree on the coffee table. The decorated Christmas tree sits in the corner. A few brightly coloured gifts sit underneath it.

I follow behind her musing, “Who’s doing this?”

Wilma waves me off returning to the kitchen. I stand there looking at the tea tree beside the box of chocolates from yesterday, my mind whirling away trying to target possible suspects.

The third morning I head out to check the mail and the first thing I notice is a large poinsettia sitting on the top step. I figure it must not have been there long, so I take the three steps to the sidewalk as quickly as I can walking toward the front street looking around to see if I can spot the person who dropped it off. No one, not a car or person on the street. Its quiet and empty.

I head back to the house pick up the poinsettia and take it inside. While shuffling to the kitchen, the large red and green leafs brush against my face tickling my nose.

After setting it on the table, I sneeze, which causes Wilma to look up from the paper. Her hazel grey eyes grow bright and wide. She drops the paper and without saying a word picks up the plant taking it to the front room. She returns with a couple of wilted green leafs in her left hand which she drops into the garbage can. I give her a questioning look. She says, “Don’t ask, I haven’t the faintest idea who is doing this. I asked Betty, it wasn’t her.”

On day four, Wilma retrieves a gift box containing four glass jars with light green mint sugar candy drops. I take a jar preparing to pull out the glass top. Wilma slaps my hand, “Wait for Christmas day,” followed by a sly wink and smile.

The box sitting at the front door on day five contains two hand knitted woolen scarfs made from white sheep’s wool. A bit itchy but they’ll be warm. The label reads: Joseph’s Prairie Farms.

On day six, I get up early staking out the front door to see if I can spot who’s dropping off the gifts. Well before my usual waking time, I peak out from behind the living room curtains ready to wait. A box already sits on the porch. I mutter under my breath then retrieve the box taking it inside to the kitchen.


Later when Wilma was up she opens it. Inside are six medium sized pieces of hand-made lavender and coconut mint soap. Great scent, but not sure I’ll use it.

The next day I go with the flow and enjoy the surprise. When I step outside light snow covers the sidewalk. Another small box wrapped in sparkly red paper sits in the usual place. I kneel down pick it up and amble back it into the kitchen. Wilma sits with little girl expectation on her face, “Your turn to open it.”

I pull a pen knife from my pants pocket opening the small blade and slicing the tape freeing the paper from its constraints. Inside the box, seven long tapered candles. It takes a few seconds, then I smell the fragrance. The pungent scent of jasmine makes me smile and think about past Christmas’s with their colours, smells and tastes.

On day eight, the gift box contains a tall sealed glass jar with eight red and white candy cane cookies. It was all I could do to not open it and munch away thinking the grand-kids wouldn’t even know.

With five days to go before Christmas, the coffee table over flows with the accumulated gifts from the mystery donor. On this day, the gift box contains nine Mason jar lid coasters. The speckled brown cork inserts stamped with various coloured images of tree ornaments.

Wilma picks up a lid, “That’s pretty unique. You can use them on poker nights.” She lets out a chuckle.

The day 10 box was, so far, the largest and heaviest. I almost dropped it while trying to get through the screen door.

I plop it down on the kitchen table. Wilma turns from pouring hot water into the tea pot. I pull out the pen knife, cut the tape and pull open the top flaps of the brown box. Inside, five jars of homemade pickles and five jars of strawberry jam. The label on each jar reads: Kapula Preserves – Fruit & Veggies.

How did whoever was doing this know strawberry was my favourite?

Ever since I tasted my grand-mothers preserves I’ve been hooked. So good on warm fresh bread spread with butter. Images and smells from long ago flash from my memory bringing a smile to my lips and a tear to my eye while thinking there was nothing like Christmas when you’re young.

Santa pix 3

The next day, the 11th, I push open the door spotting a large box wrapped in snow flake paper.

Its over two feet square. In the upper left corner a big red bow and another Santa Clause tag dangling from a string stuck underneath it. A narrow green ribbon twists around the box in both directions.

This one takes a little bit of doing, kneeling I grab it with both hands. Standing upright, I sway a bit then steady myself. A deep breath and its into the house.

As I stumble into the kitchen my gasping attracts Wilma’s attention. She immediately jumps up hurrying the grab one side of the box. She looks at me with the combination of ‘are you alright!’ and ‘what are you thinking!’. We set the box on the table. I sit to catch my breath and rest. Yikes, I think, it doesn’t get any easier.

Wilma brings me a glass of water. I take it with thanks and drain it in three gulps. After setting it down, I wipe my brow with the back of the shirt sleeve. She looks at the tag flipping it over. Nothing but the neat blue ink script that reads: May the Christmas Spirit carry you through the whole year.

Pulling a paring knife from the knife rack, Wilma cuts through the the tape and gentle unwraps the brown cardboard box. It contains a large two gallon tin can with a red lid.

Finally able to stand up, I fold back the box flaps. Wilma reaches in lifting out the can. I pick up the box setting it on the floor.

Wilma turns the can around and around. On the sides are, what appears to be, hand-painted Christmas themes – reindeer, Nativity scene, trees, snow skiers and ice skaters. Its topped with a red lid.

I step beside Wilma, “After all that work I’m not waiting until Christmas Day to open it.” With that I grab the lid prying it open. Stepping aside so Wilma can see the contents, I reach in grabbing a hand full of poppy-cock, a combination of popcorn, butter, nuts and cornstarch. A golden delicious sticky gooey mess that leaves one licking their fingers to savour every sweet crunchy bite.

On the 12th day, Christmas eve, the morning was cold and the air sharp on my lungs as I push open the door to see what surprise was in store. A big smile breaks out across my face. What a surprise!

Wilma strides up beside me putting her left arm around my waist giving it a hug.

A resounding and loud “Merry Christmas!” erupts from what appears to be a dozen people standing on the porch. I didn’t know any of them. They weren’t from the neighbourhood. Hadn’t seem them at the mall.

I look at Wilma, her face beams. A big smile on her face, one I hadn’t seem since the kids were little.

Bundled in colourful Christmas elf costumes, six children and five adults break out singing:

We wish you a merry Christmas

And a happy New Year.
Good tidings we bring
To you and your kin;
We wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy New Year.

Dressed in a red Mrs. Clause outfit, a woman who was clearly the grand-mother steps forward, “May the season of families bring you peace, happiness and joy! Each year our family chooses another family, at random, to bring the spirit of Christmas too. We appreciate your confidentiality in this matter and only ask that you do not reveal our identity so that we may continue to practice this family custom.”

 Santa pix 4

I nod ‘yes’ and Wilma says, “Absolutely, thank you very much. Thank you, its been a fabulous treat. Merry Christmas!”

I finally manage, “Thank you, Merry Christmas and a great New Year.”

The entourage picks up singing the Christmas carol while turning to walk down the sidewalk to the street.

A small child of 4 or 5 turns waves calling out, “Merry Christmas!”

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