Saturday, December 24, 2005

Footprints Across My Heart

Chance encounters change lives. Close friends, passing acquaintances and even characters who emerge from old books often leave footprints across my heart. By opening mysterious doors, the influence of others has inadvertantly altered the direction of my life.
Colin Monteath, Under Sheltering Sky.

I've lived a few lives, probably like most people. I've been a daughter, a wife, a mother, a sister, an aunt and a grandmother; a niece, a cousin, a granddaughter, a stepdaughter, a friend, a girlfriend, and more often than not, simply that strange creature most people call Di.

The reality of all those lives translates into people I know and value all over the world; incredibly generous people, who have opened their lives and let me in. People who have left footprints across my heart, and let me walk a mile or two with them.

I was stunned by a parcel I received from old friends last week ... writing of it might not capture how much the contents meant to me however, inside I discovered a New Zealand Santa, wearing jandals and beach shorts, carrying a sack ... but better to photograph him. He was accompanied by his Kiwi sidekick and looks so good on the Christmas tree.

There was also chocolate ... New Zealand peppermint and caramello-filled chocolate ... which makes me a philistine I know it, I'm living in Belgium, the land of legendary chocolate but sometimes we just like what we like, and I do love my Cadburys New Zealand stuff.

There was a NZ black cap for Gert to wear proudly (despite his refusal to love Vegemite), but the thing that most touched me was the Edmunds Cookbook.

Gert watched me melt as I read through the recipes, smiling over food I'd taken forgranted while growing. My Nana had an Edmunds cookbook, as did my mother, it's been around for almost 100 years and everyone knows it over there. Reading through it was a rollcall of things I had grown up loving ... the pavlova, bacon and egg pie, and Nana's yo-yo recipe; lamingtons, hokey pokey, my sultana cake, tomato relish, and the highlander salad dressing recipe ... they were all there.

I've lived more than a few lives, and it's been while I was living these lives that I have met some of the best people a person could know. Emails, parcels in the post, computer conversations and phone calls in these days have reminded me of how lucky I am in who I know.

And it's so hard to write this and not write of each person who has had a profound affect on my life, because everyone is on my mind as I write.

I guess this is my way of telling friends and family that I value them more than they know, and appreciate the gift of their friendship.

So the best I can do, from this new life where Christmas falls in the depths of winter and my feet are bare and cold as I type this, is to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and the happiest New Year!

Take care, love Di

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