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Clarke recalls Christmas and a ’38 Chevrolet –

Dave Clarke recalls growing up in Southwest Manitoba that his mother made dozens of chocolates for Christmas.

Richard Frogs
Peace News from the South

Dave Clarke has many long-lasting memories of Christmas as a child in a family of two.
His mother’s cooking and baking remains his most memorable Christmas as a young boy growing up on a dairy farm in Hartney, Man.
“She always started baking in November and made Christmas cakes and dozens of homemade chocolates,” says Clarke, 82, a resident of Pleasantview Lodge in High Prairie.
He recalls having even more favorite foods on the menu at Christmas Day dinner at his grandparents’ house in Brandon, about 60-70 miles away.
“We used to visit the grandparents when the weather was good,” says Clarke, the eldest of the family’s two sons.
“We owned a 1938 Chevy.
“Dad’s top speed was 57 mph.”
Grandma’s cooking was beyond delicious. Clarke loved his grandmother’s steamed pudding and Christmas cake.
“We also had kumquats for you to help yourself to,” says Clarke.
But the young family could not stay long.
“We had to be back home to milk cows,” says Clarke.
Christmas Day was also the day the two brothers opened presents.
“Sometimes they were handcrafted like a sled,” says Clarke.
“We usually opened gifts after breakfast.
“Dad had to feed the cattle and when he came back we opened presents.”
They also had a stocking filled with an orange, candy, and a candy cane.
After the presents were opened, the family went to the Christmas Day service, which began at 10:30 or 11:00 am
Sunday school classes presented a Christmas program with around 20-25 children, he recalls.
“The kids sang Christmas carols and we had a nativity scene,” says Clarke.
“We canceled the sermon for that day.”
A special seasonal flower was another memory he has.
“My mom had a Christmas cactus for many years,” says Clarke.
“Sometimes it bloomed before Christmas and sometimes after Christmas.”
In his early years he went to school in a small red brick schoolhouse.
“There was always a Christmas concert and Santa was always there,” says Clarke.
Just before everyone went home, the students and other children received a bag of delicious treats.
“There was probably a chocolate or two in there and a kumquat,” says Clarke.
The orange was a special treat.
“They were popular at Christmas and probably the only time of year they were seen.”

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