Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘family

Wishing all my followers a wonderful Holiday Season. Here is a little Christmas story for you.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

The Year I Discovered Santa Claus by Darlene Foster

Most children dream of seeing Santa Claus. I stayed up as late as possible every Christmas Eve but always fell asleep, only to wake up in the morning to see the jolly fellow had visited and left gifts.

***

It was to be our last Christmas on the farm. Mom and Dad had purchased a house in the city and planned to move in the next spring.  The whole family was gathering at the farm one last time to spend the holiday with them.

We lived in Calgary at the time, a three-hour drive away. The morning of the 24th, Hubby was busy loading luggage as I pulled gifts out from under the tree to take with us. We had a couple of stops to make before arriving at the farm. It was important that the gifts that were to be dropped off first, went into the trunk last. Crawling under the tree to retrieve the carefully wrapped packages at the very back, a searing pain shot up my spine. I couldn’t move forward, backward or sideways. Paul came in for another load only to find me under the tree on all fours and in tears.

“I’ve put my back out and I can’t move,” I croaked.

He managed to lift me out from under the tree and lay me on the couch. From there I gave him instructions as to where to place each gift.

My ten-year-old daughter panicked when she saw me. “Does this mean we can’t go?”

“Are you sure you can manage the drive?” Paul asked.

I assured both of them I would be OK. I was not missing the last Christmas on the farm. So I took medication and hobbled to the car. I managed fine on the three-hour drive. Paul dropped off the gifts we needed to deliver on the way, while I stayed in the car. Once at the farm, getting out of the car proved difficult, but my dad and brothers were soon there, giving me a hand. Dad put me in his comfy chair and immediately put a heating pad behind my back. My brothers helped remove my boots and Mom made me a cup of tea. I was feeling the love, and happy to be home.

The kids of all ages, bundled up and went for a sleigh ride, a tradition in our family. Instead of using horses as he did in the past, Dad used a tractor to pull the open sleigh over the snow. I wished I could have gone along as it wouldn’t happen again, but didn´t want to risk it. I stayed back with Mom who prepared food for the evening meal and the big feast the next day. She wouldn´t let me help with the cooking preparations either.

I took more medication and by dinner, I felt better. We had a great meal as always and played a rousing game of marbles. We are a competitive family, so there was shouting and grabbing and perhaps a bit of cheating. All good fun and no one got hurt. Once the children were put to bed, Mom and I kept everyone out of the living room while we filled the stockings and arranged them around the tree. After a midnight drink, we all turned in. The beds at my parents´ house were comfy but old. The one we were given to sleep on had a very soft mattress and I kept rolling into the middle. Every time I did, the pain in my back worsened.

In spite of the extra dose of medication, I wasn´t getting much sleep. I finally grabbed a quilt, took my pillow and moved into the living room to sleep on the nice firm couch. Mom always left the tree lights on all night on Christmas Eve, which I found comforting. I felt like a kid again and soon fell fast asleep.

All of a sudden, I was woken up by someone switching on the bright overhead light. My brother, bare-chested and wearing a pair of beige jogging pants, popped things into everyone´s stocking. He obviously didn´t see me as he went about playing Santa. Then he left the room, switching off the light behind him. I smiled and fell back to sleep with no problem.

The next morning as we stuffed ourselves with pancakes, Dad asked me, “Did you sleep all right, dear?” 

I replied, “I moved to the living room and slept just fine. And I saw Santa. He came into the room while I was sleeping and filled the stockings. And – he was stark naked!”

My brother turned red and shouted, “I was not. I had my jogging pants on.” 

That was the one and only time I saw Santa Claus.

Enjoy the season, and if you’re lucky, you just might see Santa!

Delighted to be a guest on Beetley Pete’s wonderful blog. I share a special memory of the arrival of a younger brother.

Baby Timmy with his aunties.

beetleypete

I am very happy to present a guest post from the lovely Darlene Foster. Blogger, and published author of the popular ‘Amanda’ series of books, Darlene is from Canada, and lives in Spain.

Babies and Blizzards
By Darlene Foster

I remember when my brother, Timothy, was born. It had been a typical cold and snowy prairie winter with blizzards creating impassable road conditions. Mom expected the third member of our family to arrive in early February. Dad was concerned that the inclement weather might stop him from getting her to the hospital sixty miles away, when the time came. So he took mom and my younger brother, Lorne to stay with our grandparents in the city well before her due date. Since I had school, I stayed with my great-aunt and great-uncle in the small town near our farm.

I was excited about this as I loved Aunt Elsie and…

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After two long years, I finally made it back to Alberta, Canada. As I landed in Calgary and saw the prairies unfold below me, I burst into tears. It was so good to see my family and friends again. I was given comfy beds to sleep in, yummy meals, pets to snuggle and great conversations. Four generations of women spent valuable time together at my granddaughter´s place. We celebrated mom’s life at a local park by talking about her life and how much she meant to each of us, and by sharing food, conversation and laughter. She would have liked that. Here´s just a few photos of the trip.

Mom’s sister and brother along with my brother and I celebrating mom´s life
Three generations of amazing women, all mine!
Grandkids and grand dog. Love them to bits.
With number one daughter
With number one son
My excellent chauffeur in Medicine Hat, the youngest grandson with his first car.

And I woke up to goats outside my window!!

Goats on the prairie. Wiener, Pickle and Bean
With my grand goats

I did a book signing event at a wonderful bookstore in Medicine Hat, called Unlimited Characters.

A book signing at Unlimited Characters in Medicine Hat, Alberta. A great turn out.
It was so great to see the prairies

A good friend took me to Banff for a day trip. What a treat. I had forgotten how amazing those Rocky Mountains are. I will do another post just about Banff soon.

The road to Banff
With a good friend at Bow Falls, she treated me to a fabulous day in Banff.
Those Rocky Mountains make a great backdrop.

And I got to see cousins I hadn´t seen for a long time.

Cousins are the best!
A dear cousin in her lovely back yard. She gave me a place to sleep and drove me around Calgary.
And I found the most amazing outhouse! I need to put this in a story somewhere.

It was time well spent and I have all these wonderful memories to keep me going.

More to come…

Bette Frisch: December 25th, 1928 to March 17th, 2021

My heart is broken as I recently lost my dear sweet mom. I know she is at peace and with my dad and brother, but I will miss seeing her smiling face forever. Due to Covid, I was not able to say goodbye or be with the family at the small graveside service in Canada, which was very upsetting. However, I have many good memories that bring me much comfort. As my daughter said, she showed us what unconditional love looked like.

Mom was a Christmas baby, born December 25th, 1928 at Hilda, Alberta, the oldest of six children. She first attended school at Echodale where her Aunt Beth was the teacher. She enjoyed school and was a good student. She met the love of her life, Herb Frisch, at a local dance and married him on October 2, 1947. They were married for 59 years, until his passing in 2007. Family was everything to Mom. She devoted her life to looking after everyone, even those not part of our family. She was an excellent cook, baker, seamstress, knitter and gardener. Everyone loved her kuchen and perogies. Her traditional German food was delicious, but she was not afraid to try new recipes. Her Christmas dinners and branding party spreads are legendary. Her home was always open to guests, and she could whip up a fabulous meal for unexpected visitors with little effort. No one left her house hungry. Mom worked hard on the farm, milking cows, feeding pigs and chickens, making her own butter, bread, jams and preserves, and tending a large vegetable garden. Every night before bed, she wrote in her journal, documenting the days activities. Her strong faith sustained her throughout her life especially during times of great sorrow. She was an active member of the United Church of Canada, where she taught Sunday school, was a CGIT (Canadian Girls in Training) leader and belonged to the UCW (United Church Women) for many years.

Mom loved Tim Horton’s ice caps, nice clothes, dancing with dad, playing scrabble with Aunt Barbara and reading my books. But most of all, she loved all of us. She had four children, three grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren, as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins and people she made to feel like part of the family.

Here is what one cousin had to say about her after hearing of her passing:

Bette – Small but mighty…she moved with quick, efficient steps in the kitchen, a tea towel over one shoulder while scraping the cake batter from mixing bowl to baking pan – another coffee cake ready to bake! Herb and Bette’s home was home for so many of us! She welcomed all of us! Always fun and laughter, warmth and love. That short 35 minute drive out for just the day or a three-night sleep over! Or those gatherings in Elkwater for a day-long picnic. Or visits to our house after getting grocery – the ice cream was always brought in to the freezer so they could stay for supper! Oh silly memories, but they mean so much! 

Another cousin had this to say:

Our family visited the Frisch’s farm many times when I was a child and my brother and I would stay a few days each summer. Bette and Herb were always welcoming and hospitable. Being able to experience a mixed farming operation and seeing how Bette and Herb embraced this lifestyle of hard work was a positive influence. Bette was always friendly and always answered her younger cousins’ questions about the farm.

And from two nieces:

I have such amazing memories of Auntie Bette. She was a true gem and never missed a birthday. Even when we got funny gifts! We were blessed to have such a beautiful person in our lives.

Aunty Bette is definitely an important part of my life – childhood memories on the farm shelling washtubs full of peas, riding horses, wonderful meals and evening cards or games with snacks before bedtime!

And from one of her former CGIT members:

Betty was a wonderful lady and mentor for me in my youth. 

A sweet and kind woman who will be missed by many. May you fly with the angels, Mom. 

Here is a video I created with a collection of pictures from mom´s life.

There are three things that last forever: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest if the three is love. 1 Corinthians 13, 13

Although some of you already know about this, I´m so excited to share this news. After some consideration, we adopted another dog, a little sister for Dot! Her name is Lia, she is three years old and a bodeguero, the same breed as our Dot. She is a bundle of energy and a real sweetheart. Dot is starting to get used to having her around. Like all new parents, we have taken tons of pictures.

Lia the day she arrived
Sharing our bed
Sleeping outside in the sun

Lia has her own bed but insists on sleeping in Dot´s
Going for a car ride
Sharing the backseat
Lia enjoying a visitor
Waiting for Dad to take them to the beach
Sharing the new outside bed

Having fun at the beach.

Lia with her new Dad
Dot and mini me

You can be sure there will be more pictures!

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

We have so much to be thankful for. What was I doing at this time last year? I was launching Amanda in Holland and visiting friends and family. I am so thankful I was able to do that. For now, I am thankful I have the pictures to look back on. Stay safe everyone. xo

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Darlene Foster's Blog

I was missing in action for the last month as I went to Canada to promote the latest Amanda Travels book as well as visit friends and family. It was a very successful trip, although a bit tiring. Here’s a sample of what I was up to.

I visited four schools in Alberta and BC, consisting of a variety of class sizes and students. All delightful with many questions and comments. My favourite part of being a published author is visiting schools and reading to the children. When I walked into one class, a young boy shouted, “She´s here! She´s here! I can´t believe she´s here!” For a moment I felt like a rock star. 




I launched my latest book, Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action, at Albany Books in Tsawwassen, BC, a community I lived in for fifteen years. I love this friendly, locally-owned, independant bookstore that has…

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Like everyone else, many of my plans for this year have been ruined due to the global pandemic. A long-anticipated trip to Venice, a trip to the UK to see longtime friends and to celebrate a good friend’s 70th birthday, a meeting with a Canadian friend in Valencia, visits from Canadian friends during their around the world tour, and a trip to Canada to attend my youngest grandson’s high school graduation and a huge family reunion – all cancelled. But the biggest disappointment of all, is missing the opportunity to see my 91-year-old mom.

Mom is well looked after in a care home in Medicine Hat, Alberta. I keep in touch with the staff on a regular basis, and they have informed me that she is doing well, is happy and healthy. They are doing a great job of keeping the residents safe, and no cases of COVID 19 have been detected in the care home, which is a relief and I am so thankful.

But she is not allowed any visitors, for obvious reasons. As a result, I’ve not been able to Skype or FaceTime with her from Spain for the past four months, as it is the visitors who facilitate these video calls. I keep feeling she will think she’s been abandoned because no one comes to see her. I send her emails, as do my brothers, that the staff read out to her, but I really wish I could see her, at least on a screen if not in person.

The care home recently started allowing the residents to have visits by appointment. These visits are held outside with the regulated two-metre distancing and both parties wearing masks. My darling granddaughter made an appointment last week and visited Mom. It was hard not to be able to hug her great-grandmother or hold her hand. Mom has difficulty hearing and her own voice is very soft so the distance made conversation almost impossible. Initially, mom didn’t recognize her, but when she pulled down the mask for a quick smile, mom nodded and smiled in recognition. Of course, there were tears. As there were for me when I saw the pictures and video.

Mom wearing her face mask.
A quick photo of her without the mask.
Mom with a visit from her great-granddaughter.

There wasn’t much conversation but there was a lot of love. I was so happy to see these images and to see that Mom is all right and smiling.

This is what my dear granddaughter had to say about her visit:

“I booked a visit with my lovely Great Grandma. I have always had a close emotional bond with Grandma Frisch. She often took care of me when I was young, most weekends and more, and I returned the care to her when she needed it. I love her so much. Grandma’s existence throughout her whole life thrived on family. Thrived on making sure her family was ok by visiting, keeping in touch, and keeping close bonds. She is now in her 90s so she cannot hear very well and speaks very softly. Visits with Grandma are always in close contact so we can hear each other and feel the close presence.

Visiting Grandma like this, in today’s world, I had no idea I would break down. She didn’t recognize who I was at first with a mask on so I broke the rule and pulled it down for a smile. She lit up and smiled back and said I love you. We sat for our 30 minutes of no touch, no conversation, just eye contact. And uncontrollable tears from me. It is saddening, heartbreaking, and just too frustrating to even bare the strength of holding it back. I tried to hide my tears as best as I could… and I’m usually pretty strong.. but I could see that she knew. She tried to unlock her wheelchair brakes to come to console me. But of course, she couldn’t. So I smiled instead and said over and over I Love You.

I did ask, as she was about to be taken back, that we take off our masks for a real smile. The nurse thankfully said that was ok.

Our poor elders. What is this for … what is worse… and at what cost? Humans need humans. Humans need touch, humans need love…. we survive on it. Love through our eyes at a distance will have to do for now. Grandma is well, Grandma looks amazing, and I told her everyone loves her and thinks about her every day. ❤️

Suddenly small things don’t matter anymore like eyebrow waxing or hair cuts, when there are innocent people literally dying alone. And not just from COVID19.”

I feel incredibly proud of this young woman and touched by her words. And so very grateful that she shared this with me.

Who have you been missing during these days of lockdown? Have you been able to see your loved ones?

Stay safe my friends.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the amazing mothers and mother figures out there. It will be different this year as we can’t get together, but the love will be just as strong. Recently I was guest on Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Friends and Family series where she featured a post I wrote about my dear mom. For those of you who haven’t seen it, enjoy.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the new posts from your archives with a theme of family and friends. Very important as our support system at the moment as many of us are isolated and out of physical touch. If you would like details on how to participate here is the link:Posts from Your Archives April 2020 Family and Friends

Author Darlene Foster shares memories of her mother, a tribute on Mother’s Day 2015, which despite being celebrated on different dates around the world, is a very important day of celebration.

The Gift of a Wonderful Mother by Darlene Foster

Mother´s day is a special day in many parts of the world although is not celebrated on the same day. Today it is Mother´s Day in Canada and the US and it was Mother´s Day in Spain last Sunday. In the UK, Mothering Sunday, sometimes known as Mother’s Day, is held on the…

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I am a guest on Sally´s Smorgasbord Blog Magazine where she features a post from my archives about my wonderful dad.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the new posts from your archives with a theme of family and friends. Very important as our support system at the moment as many of us are isolated and out of physical touch. If you would like details on how to participate here is the link:Posts from Your Archives April 2020 Family and Friends

Author Darlene Foster shares a lovely post about her dad, who was a real life cattle man, and also shares some of his down to earth wisdom. This was first posted in 2014

Cowboy Wisdom

DSC03332

My Dad was a cowboy. Not the Hollywood type, but a real cowboy – a man who tended cattle. A hard-working man of integrity, loyalty and determination, he almost always wore his signature cowboy hat and boots, jeans and western shirt. He lived the code of the cowboy where a man’s word was a man’s word and you…

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The youngest member of my immediate family, my great-granddaughter, just turned ten. Ten! How did that happen? She is an amazing kid, wise beyond her years, kind, smart, funny, hardworking and an animal lover. Even though I don’t see her often, I have a close bond with her. She even goes to the school I attended all those years ago, and she is an Amanda fan. I spoke to her on her birthday, which made my day. Here are just a few pictures of her through the first ten years of her life. Some taken by me and others by her mom and other family members.

A sweet baby
A determined toddler
Visiting me in Vancouver
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Best buds
All ready for school
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A visit to Santa
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So excited
An Amanda fan
A real sweetheart
Helping me sell books
A school project based on a book I gave her
With some of her dog pals
Almost as tall as me.
Four generations of women
Reading to her dog.
Playing with her cat in the snow
Getting ready.
Ten years old. Love this little woman.

“Don’t try to make me grow up before my time…”
― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

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