I’ve lived in Terrace long enough to anticipate typical weather conditions over the Christmas and New Year holidays – whiteouts, deep snow, unploughed intersections — in other words, road conditions I prefer to avoid unless desperate. My predictions proved valid. But I was prepared.
On my last pre-Christmas trip to town, I stocked up on staples so I could be snowed in until early January without running short of essentials for myself or for my dogs. I bought extra kibble, rawhide chews, dog biscuits, and canned dog food for those cold, blustery days when the dogs hunker in their kennels until bedtime when they emerge ravenous.
For myself I doubled my order of milk, eggs, fresh fruit and vegetables, and canned red beans for making chili, one of my favourite standby meals.
A trip to the library is as mandatory as food supplies. I came home with three books I was keen to read:
“Take the Torch”. A recent political memoir written by Ian Waddell, a lawyer who played a part in B.C. politics at the time of Premier Barrett’s government, and was right hand to Judge Thomas Berger whom Trudeau assigned the task of canvassing the North to learn the pros and cons of a proposed pipeline.
A memoir “My Mother Is Nuts” by Penny Marshall, the comic actress who played the part of Laverne in the sitcom “Laverne and Shirley” and went on to become a director and producer of “Mr. Big” and “A League of Their Own”. She recently died at age 75. Her writing is as funny as her acting, even if she began her book with an anecdote about the night two burglars broke into her house. As the anecdote began, she was wearing a nightgown. Yet six pages later when the police pursued the burglars from her home, she was wearing pyjamas.
My third choice turned out to be not a book, but seven CD’s titled “Brief Encounters” featuring interviews by Dick Cavett. Cavett was a mainstay interviewer on TV at a time when my accessibility to TV was limited. Only recently did I see him on Youtube and enjoyed his quick wit.
A trip to the bank paid my City West and Telus bills up to date.
Preparations complete, I settled in for some Netflix binge-watching.
One show I had heard about but never seen was “Downton Abbey”. I knew only that it was a British production starring Maggie Smith. I like Maggie Smith. British stories — not so much.
Until I sampled this long-running series.
Before I knew it I was getting up early and going to bed late to fit in an extra episode or two. I struggled to keep track of the many characters, and tried my best to understand their motives for so much intrigue. Every time two people spoke in hushed tones in some hallway or corner, sure as shooting they were eavesdropped upon by the one individual in the 50-room household that they didn’t want to know.
The series marched through the First World War; suffered the death of several likeable men, left two babies without a father; survived a kitchen maid audaciously training to become a secretary. The family learned to cope with a car driven by a chauffeur, a telephone, a toaster, a refrigerator, and finally a food processor.
Throughout Maggie Smith had the funniest lines thanks to her unfailing sarcasm.
Sadly, the TV series abruptly ended; my supplies have held out.