Today was a day filled with children and activities definitely outside my comfort zone. Today the Community Association held its Winter Carnival. Today I played with children of all ages. Some were three and some were eleven and the others were all the ages in-between.
Yes, I helped out at the colouring contest table sponsored by the Ogden Seniors 50+ Activity Club. We had a multitude of Christmas pictures to colour, crayons, and prizes to be won. The kids lined up at our table excited to spend a few minutes shading stockings, wreaths, and Christmas trees with the waxy crayons. A chance to win a five dollar McDonalds gift card was an easy enticement for many of the young people tagging along behind their Mom or Dad as they wandered from booth to booth. Alone in their zone, they chatted quietly about their schools, their ages, their siblings and in some cases current world events. “Yes, I am good with colour and drawing”, “My favourite colour is pink”, “I don’t live around here”. One young artist didn’t want to enter the colouring contest, he knew he wouldn’t be back this way again. Another so intent on her art, didn’t say a word. Quietly, she slid the crayons back and forth transforming the white paper to green, yellow and red.
The carnival, so much more than our little colouring corner tucked into the back of the hall. It is a gathering place. A place where old friends can reconnect after months or years of not seeing each other. I ran into a young woman I hadn’t seen is 10 or more years. I knew her as a cashier at Safeway working part time while in high school. It took me a few moments to shake off my past image of her and accept a new one. So grown up now. She has two children and is the imaginative creator of unique candy bouquets. This event is a hub where local entrepreneurs set up business for an afternoon, hand out their business cards in the hope of a future sale or commission. Where home based artisans can share their artistry, adding to the vibrancy of our community. The hall was filled with the soothing scents of peppermint soaps, chocolate arrangements, and the sharp aroma of herbal oils. My eyes were treated to the sparkle of semi precious stones strung into bracelets and necklaces, and the bright warm colours of knitted winter hats and scarves.
Christmas carols hung on the air and kids acted out their favourite Christmas messages on the 80 year old auditorium stage. The floorboards creaked as a Taekwondo team kicked and jabbed their way through their sparring program. Little girls dressed in mukluks, their faces painted as Hello Kitty, turned and twirled as they worked to figure out the hula hoop moves so easily managed by the older more flexible teenage girls.
The Calgary Multicultural Orchestra treated everyone to a selection Christmas songs including winter wonderland, jingle bells and the first Nowell. (that is how it was written on the sheet music) A beautiful and inspiring arrangement brought the sound of Christmas to our hearts.
At the end of the day everyone had fun, Christine and I tried our own hands at colouring, and four young aspiring artists won gift cards worth the price of a McDonalds Happy Meal.
December 2016 Cheryle