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Island Stories:  A Christmas Visit

Island Stories: A Christmas Visit

by Sylvia Poirier
RED Magazine Volume Thirteen WINTER 2016

The snow glitters like diamonds, softly edging the branches of the spruce trees like boiled icing.  It is a perfect Christmas afternoon.  I sit beside my father in the jaunting sleigh.  Belle, our little grey mare, canters easily through the light snow as she takes us down the narrow road to Ives Point.

My father, a man of few words, tells me that Lloyd is a solitary man who prefers the company of foxes and squirrels to that of people. I think to myself that is very sad that this man is alone on Christmas Day and that is generous of my father to visit him. 

As we approach his simple dwelling, I am surprised to see that there are decorations on a spruce tree outside his door.  They are unusual decorations - pine cones, bayberries, rose hips, faded Queen Anne's lace, dried elderberries and a small bird's nest.  There are also strands of silver tinsel that have been carefully placed on the ends of the branches.

My father secures Belle's reins to an old fence post and places a blanket over her.  He knocks on the door. 

"Come in John," Lloyd says.  The cottage is a small table, two wooden chairs and a woodstove. 

My father gives Lloyd the meat pie my mother made and he nods his acceptance.  Lloyd's hair is white and long, as is his beard.  He has brilliant blue eyes. He wears faded blue overalls and an old frayed red sweater.  Thick wool socks spills over his brown work boots.  A greying black lab lies quietly beside him.  Its name is Briar. 

The conversation is quiet - murmurings really.  There is some talk about the weather, the ice forming around the point, how the rabbit snares are doing.  There are also comfortable lapses in conversation.  Lloyd scratches the dog's ears and calls him "good boy."

The wood crackles in the pot bellied stove, the flames visible through the small glass at the front. An old aluminum kettle simmers on the top.  The scent of the burning wood mingles with the fresh scent of the small fir which sits unadorned in an old brown pottery crock.  Sunshine filters through the single window. 

As I sit quietly and watch, I begin to see Lloyd in a different light - a man comfortable with himself, a man whose needs are very basic.  He has no electricity, no indoor plumbing, no running water.  On the other hand he has the abundant outdoors, his home is warm and peaceful, he has a kerosene lamp, a patchwork quilt and a faithful dog.  He has everything he needs.  He has enough. 

And as I watch my father, I realize that this is no sacrifice on his part; he has much in common with Lloyd; he too is a man of simple needs and is at one with Lloyd's solitude. 

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Francesca - December 27, 2021

Belated Merry Christmas to everyone at the Preserve Company.
I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Lloyd and a peaceful mood took me throughout the story. This was a welcome contrast to today’s pandemic which has permeated all facets of life.
Thank you for sharing this calming tale and for the photos of the waves. Both share a common beauty.
May 2022 bring good health and peace to everyone.

Lynne Powell - December 25, 2021

What a wonderful memory! Thank you so much for sharing. We (I) often forget what having enough is, and being content with it. I wish you all a very merry Christmas, and a season of contentment.

Phil Briton - December 25, 2021

Thanks for putting in place wants and needs.

Lynn - December 25, 2021

Such a lovely story and such a beautiful gesture to take the meat pie to Lloyd. I admire Lloyd for being so content with his life. Think how our lives would be if we were like him, content with what we have, who we are. I believe it would transform our world!

A very Merry Christmas to everyone at PEI Preserve Company and to all the blog loyal readers!

Jack & Lillian Paul - December 25, 2021

Thanks for sharing this story about a special person who is content in his own skin.
Merry Christmas Sylvia.

Rena - December 25, 2021

I found myself immersed in the story, feeling release from pressures of last-minute projects of Christmas Eve. Thoughts drifted from watching my daughter creatively decorating her gingerbread house to the quietness and beauty of the visit in the woods. Peaceful. Inner peace.

Maureen Garrity - December 25, 2021

Sylvia, you have a gift . I felt I was in that little house with you and your dad.
My dad too was a kind and gentle man, this story reminds me of him.
Merry Christmas to you and Mary Beth and family.

Maureen Garrity - December 25, 2021

Sylvia, you have a gift . I felt I was in that little house with you and your dad.
My dad too was a kind and gentle man, this story reminds me of him.
Merry Christmas to you and Mary Beth and family.

Julie MacKenzie - December 25, 2021

Thank you for sharing that story with us. Wishing you & yours a Merry Christmas 🎄 & A happy 2022! 🎉🎊

Marylou Sinnott - December 25, 2021

A lovely story

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