Last night, my wife Joan spent a half hour sewing back together the stuffed gingerbread man that our son’s pug, Spencer, had just finished destroying for about the tenth time. This stuffed toy has had numerous surgeries. For eyes it now has two crosses made of black thread. Likewise the nose and mouth, along with a few other black threaded scars. It looks like hockey players used to look in the 1950s, victims of too many high sticks.
Ginger and gingerbread wafts over the season. A couple of weeks ago, the kitchen in Brown Hall was taken over by Mrs. Duffus’s Grade 2 class, for their annual baking lesson. They produced about four dozen trays of ginger cookies, which happen to be just about my favourites. I am still hoping to get a sample, although with each passing day that hope dims: I know the tastes of Grade 2 children. This morning, Mrs. Snowden and I made our annual delivery of gingerbread men to the students of the Junior School. We put on some Christmas paraphernalia (in my case a tie, in the case of my wife a rather more fetching coat) and give out gingerbread men to each class. Most of the students remember last year, so that when we arrive with our trolley of goodies, eyes light up. It is a lot of fun. Kids and Christmas are made for each other. The same seems to be true of the celebrations of every other religion I know.
From the Junior School I went to Senior School Chapel, where our Brass Ensemble led us in some carols, an occasion that does tend to raise the roof. We are fortunate to belong to a school where music is so woven into the fabric. Mrs. Skinner played the organ, a rare treat. In the middle of the singing we stopped, and Reverend Fletcher read a Maya Angelou poem. A couple of lines from the poem struck me, capturing the mood with which all these students, from kingergarten to Grade 12, had infected me. In a school, the prevailing mood is one of optimism, and the prevailing orientation is toward the future. Here are the lines of the poem:
Hope is born again in the faces of children.
It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.
Hope spreads around the earth, brightening all things.
The name of the poem is Amazing Peace.