A Chinook Christmas
“In early December, giant candy canes were suspended from concrete pillars outside Woodward’s and the mall. On the flat roof above Penley’s Drugs a “Night Before Christmas” display was assembled, piece by piece, with agonizing slowness. First, the red-brick fireplace and chimney appeared. A week later, three cartoonish kids in nightgowns and nightcaps joined the scene. The next week, there would be stockings hanging in a row on the mantle. On Christmas Eve, our family would go for a car ride down Macleod Trail past Chinook Centre. Dad driving, Mom smiling, three girls bursting with excitement in the back seat. Santa Claus would finally be there, high atop the chimney. Plywood and paint, but magic just the same.
Inside Chinook Centre, there was a real Santa in his Toyland Castle who gave you a button and a colouring book if you were brave enough to sit on his lap. On the little picket fences surrounding Santa’s Toyland, there were telephones to the North Pole where you could listen to Rudolph, or Frosty the Snowman, or Mrs. Claus. Overhead, choirs of angels perched on clouds of blue and pink candy floss. Much better than church…”
from Separation Anxiety: a Coming of Middle Age Story