January 25th, 2022

City Notebook: Christmas a changing time

By COLLIN GALLANT on December 24, 2021.

cgallant@medicinehatnews.com@CollinGallant

Last Christmas the big controversy to strike a nerve was butter wasn’t melting at usual temperatures.

At that time Calgary-based food writer Julie Van Rosendaal dug into the issue and surmised it might have something to do with new feed used by diary farmers.

Fast forward to the summer heat wave, Van Rosendaal posted a pic of her butter dish to say it had, in fact, relented.

But, the whole issue speaks to how things should be “just so” at Christmas time, doesn’t it?

Perhaps this balances off all the other bargaining we’ve made throughout the year.

Christmas oranges are a year-round thing now. Conversely, honest-to-goodness lard in pie crust is now a once-a-year indulgence. Ditto beer in brown bottles.

LED lights make sense environmentally and cost less compared to good old, full-wattage incandescents on indestructible strings, but there’s a certain pop missing, isn’t there?

Christmas is a touchstone in an uncertain time, but it’s always been changing, hasn’t it?

The double-page newspaper crossword puzzle (which appeared in Thursday’s edition) is a relatively new advent, but you’d think it’s been around forever.

If Baby Jesus arrived today, one could quip, three Wise Men would present him with Bitcoin, CBD oil and an avocado face mask for wrinkles.

A saving grace, is Christmas is remembered by children as being exactly as it should.

And we all have at least one or two memories of tough times or perseverance in our distant family memories (this year and last excluded). Those eventually become fond or at least sustaining memories.

Here’s hoping you made the most of yours this year and made the season bright for someone else.

Good tidings

Just in time for Christmas arrived a sort of antidote to brighten the generally weary mood of Hatters: there’s nary a discouraging word to be said about plans to bring a hot-air balloon festival to town this spring.

In fact, people seem to genuinely love the idea.

The spectacle, being organized by local balloon enthusiasts Willy and Cindy Taillon, would be free of charge, span a long weekend and recently received a small city grant to help it to fruition.

Now, the go-to response to almost any issue these days is to find fault, hypothesis about problems and generally tear down ideas both good and bad.

The typical reaction in 2021 combines bad language and a palm solidly applied to one’s forehead.

COVID! Gas prices! Weather! The government! The election! Inflation! Doorstep thieves!

But, so positive was the reaction to the News’s online balloon story, Facebook probably checked to see if the “mad-o-meter” was malfunctioning.

Many know Taillon as a local firefighter or, in younger days, for smashing down the pitch with the Ogres Rugby club.

Turns out he also really loves hot-air balloons, decided to get his own set up (how’s that for a hippopotamus for Christmas?) and then treated Hatters to a few fly-bys this past summer.

Now he’s arranging visits by his cohorts to Medicine Hat next year.

This note may be putting a lot of pressure on the endeavour, which is ironic. It’s strength probably lies in its simplicity.

So let’s not jinx it, and just happily watch the skies in 2022.

A look ahead

City council gets back at it Jan. 4. The News’s look back at the year is well underway. Stay warm. Whatever it is, it will keep.

100 years ago

The end of 1921 could be a turning point in the cause of world peace, the News noted in a Christmas Eve editorial this week 100 years ago.

“While difficulties are many, humanity’s need is great and to bring about that happier era for which all men hope the responsibility of of every individual should be realized … towards the bringing into being of a world of peace ad happiness.” it read in part.

Efforts could now be spent for the betterment of society, not the futility and wastefulness of war.

Drilling continued through the Holidays near Many Islands Lake as the Medicine Hat Development Company offered to sell some of its oil claims in that area to residents.

Recently removed Alberta Premier Chas. Stewart could run in a Quebec riding during a round of byelections in the New Year, rumours had it. That would solve a puzzle for the federal Liberals to bring in Cabinet representation for Alberta, which returned no Liberal members.

Collin Gallant covers city politics and a variety of topics for the News. Reach him at 403-528-5664 or via email at cgallant@medicinehatnews.com

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