When I was six years old, my widowed Carrots family Merry Christmas shirt, sweater mother and I lived with my grandmother in the working class district of a city in Eastern Canada. We lived on a low income. Nothing was wasted. One summer my mother got the name of a ‘needy’ family, and started to save a little money each week to give them something for Christmas. I knew nothing about this. On Christmas Eve my precious mother started to organize the ‘gift’ on the kitchen table. First came a box of toys and candy. She carefully wrapped the toys with a note from Santa Claus. Next, two stockings were filled with the candy, colouring books and crayons, an orange, an apple and a teddy bear.
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A large box was filled with a cooked Carrots family Merry Christmas shirt, sweater turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, a bag of potatoes and carrots, a can of peas, fruitcake and cookies. A gift for the mother, and the two stockings were placed on top of the box. As I wondered where the toys and candy were going, my mother told me to get ready because we were going out. Out on Christmas Eve? Where? And it was a stormy night! My mother called a taxi. A taxi? What was going on? We NEVER took a taxi. When the yellow car stopped outside of our house, we waded through deep snow in the howling wind, and got in the taxi. The driver started the car and slowly made his way through the storm. We lived in the south end of the city. The financial status of the neighbourhood lowered the farther south you went.