Tuesday, December 06, 2005
I seem to think that this photo was taken about 4 years before Granny died. It was while we were having a bbq out at their place.
My grandparents bought a 5 acre section with a gorgeous old house on it which they retired to. It was the first "home" that I had when we moved to New Zealand. The place where I fell asleep in the bath, where I met my first Huhu bug and where my first pony came to live, also where I became a woman. hehehe
My mother's parents were a crazy couple. The pillar of our family and all it's wacky traditions. It took a while for me to get my head around it all after leaving Canada, but now I see it in all it's glorious splendour.
We had all our Christmas'at their house. We would meet at church in the morning, and then go home for the mayhem. Grandad always cooked a HUGE ham and turkey with new spuds from the garden, along with loads of beans and pumpkin. His Vegie garden was for his grand children. And every year as we got older, the garden got bigger. :)
Santa would always visit us to deliver the presents - it would often be someone who didn't have any family that would come and join in the fun, dressed as santa with a very special mission. We would have the presents distrubuted to everyone.... all 13 grand children, the 3 daughters, 3 sons in law, and whoever else came to join the party. After that, it would be time for a HUGE lunch....
After lunch you would often find a few of the sons in law snoozing on the sofa, while the kids played with the new toys, and the draw was being readied for the golf tournament extravaganza!
We would all be paired up with someone to play a round of the golf course, which changed every year, and wound its way around their amazing garden. You were always incredibly lucky if you landed Granny or Grandad as your partner.... they won loads of trophy's every year, so were the favourites. hehehe. It would basically be a round robin... the winner receiving the trophy to share for the year with their partner. (Which reminds me - I never got the trophey this year! My partner has hogged it!)
The trophy itself is quite the work of art... a person made from wire, with a club in his hand, golf ball and tee to finish it off. Classy! On the back it lists the winners from the last, guessing 15 years. Very precious indeed.
Inbetween all that you would jump into the salt water pool to cool off, and splash around. There would be people jamming on their guitars and singing away. My cousins had formed a band, with trombone, trupet, drums and guitar, plus clarinet when needed. They were hillarious, and so gorgeous.
One of the regular "extras" for Christmas was a Canadian girl; Katie woowoo. I don't know where we found her? She may have been a hitch hiker? Or may have come over to work on the Woodies farm? I don't remember.... we've missed her though, and this year she's back!! :)
She introduced the Bag of presents into our day. Now we each have to buy a small present to go inside the bag, and sit in a circle. The bag goes around and you decide if you want to open the present you pulled out, or you can pick one that someone else has already opened. BUT WAIT. Once you've gone around the circle - you go back the other way again... either keeping your present when it's your turn, or picking someone elses. Yes... imagine how that went when we were all much younger. hehe. "But I wanted the snorkle!" "I didn't want a shower curtain!" I tell you, anything and everything ended up in that bag. It's hillarious. :)
We had one Christmas at Bombay after Granny died. Poor Grandad wondered around like a lost soul that day. Often sitting off in a corner, watching us all, but looking as though he didn't know what to do with himself. A blessing that he died before there was another one?!
Now the Christmas' are shared amongst the daughters. Ros and Hugh have a bed and breakfast up on the Whangarei Heads... a gorgeous house overlooking the harbour, where we sail and kayak. Simon and Rosalind got married right on the waters edge - in fact, we (bride with her bridesmaids) sailed into the wedding. Was totally amazing! :) Always a very challenging golf course, as it's on a hill.
Anne and Philip have a sheep farm with caves on it, which is becoming more of a tourist attraction - though totally rough! Massive gardens... HUGE! Also a very challenging golf course due to the slopes. hehehe. And perhaps the cries of Annie telling us to be careful of the plants?! :) It's also totally out in the middle of nowhere!
And then my parents... our horse farm with goats, cows, cats and dogs. We have the flatest garden, but somehow, my creative brother manages to make the most technically difficult courses every time it's there.
It's funny. With everyone getting married, ( out of 13, 6 are now married) we kind of wondered what would happen to the huge family Christmas.... but it would seem it's just doubled in size! hehehe. Anyone who marries into the family is instantly apart of the chaos. It actually surprises me in a way that even the girls who have married in love it as much as all of us. I somehow think that once you've experienced one of our crazy days, you don't want to be anywhere else. I could of course be completely bias to it all.
My cousin, Ellie and her husband, Josh arrived back from England the weekend of Dave's wedding back in Oct, and while I think they quickly stoped in to say hi to his parents - they were quickly whisked down to our place for the wedding for the whole weekend. We talked about it, and Ellie said she didn't think she would be quite so keen had it been for Josh's side of the family - but he knew what we were like.... how you just don't miss something like that. hehehe. Poor guy was completely shattered by the end of it all and finally got to catch up with his family at the end of it all.
Anyone who has married in has certainly become such apart of the family.... all my cousins wives are totally my cousins, even some of my cousins cousins are considered to be my own. hehe
We are a completely blessed bunch, and it's very cool that we are so able to invite other people along to join in the fun.
So... while I've tried to explain it all to my South African friend, Jiljane who is flying up with me this year... I don't think I can fully do it justice. It's a tradition. One filled with love, and laughs. One that started more years ago than I've been around for. And one that won't be ending any time soon, while the family continues to grow....
Lastest pic of the whole family - minus Erin and Bruce.