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The Ruttle Report - December - I didn't see that one coming!

This week's 'report' by columnist Derek Ruttle
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If you'd have asked me back in the summertime what my plans were for the holiday season, I'd have done everything humanly possible to avoid the subject altogether.

Taken Christmas, thrown it into a heavy steel, concrete-laden vault, locked the massive door behind it, and then buried the vault in the Dead Sea.

That's about how much I was looking forward to the holidays back at that time.

But then, they actually happened.  The days turned into weeks, the weeks turned into months, and before we all knew it, December had rolled around.  Now, as I look back on the past month, I can tell you that something happened that I wouldn't think was possible during the time that I was grieving heavily for my departed mom.

I started to look forward to Christmas and the entire festive season that came with it.

Yes, at a time when we're missing loved ones who made the holidays so special and so right for all of us, and Mom was unquestionably Numero Uno in that regard, I found myself enjoying all of it.  Of course, she remained beside my heart and was at the forefront of many thoughts, and she was missed terribly, but despite that, I'm so incredibly happy that my holidays were as good as they were.  Heck, my entire month of December was pretty dang great.

The first day of the month saw me getting a haircut for what felt like the first time in forever.  It was actually for the first time since late February, but you know what I mean.

Three days after that, I had a wonderful evening down in Elbow which included a fantastic supper at the Harbor Golf Club, followed by checking out Christmas lights and decorations.  The fireworks shot off outside the bar on the village's main street were a nice way to cap the evening, I thought.  I have to say, Elbow really has a knack for coming across as a quintessential Christmas town every year.  I don't know if it solely has to do with the people involved or if the location beside Lake Diefenbaker is a contributing factor, but that place will always get two thumbs up from me in virtually anything it does.

A week later on December 11, I got together with my closest and best friends for a night out together in Saskatoon.  Good food, good drinks, and great conversation for nearly four hours.  The jokes flowed, the laughs followed, and the togetherness felt so good to me, and so needed.  That's just it, I think that I actually physically *needed* it.  Just a good night out with the boys and girls, revisiting the past and blending in the present.  I'm happy to report now that one of my best friends got engaged to the lady in his life, and we met her for the first time that night.  Congrats, Alex!

On Monday, December 13, that was my last day of work before the Christmas break, and it was very cool being down in the park and seeing all the awesome displays and lights as part of the Winter Wonderland event.  I may have been there on work assignment, but I still felt part of the community taking it all in.  Very well done.

On Saturday of that week, I met up with my other siblings and my nieces for drinks in Saskatoon to mark my brother Perry's birthday.  That was really nice, but what was even better was the meal we had at his place before we went to the pub; roast chicken, scalloped potatoes, and we got to enjoy Mom's cabbage rolls as we'd brought some up with us that had been stored in the freezer.  It tasted like.....home, and that was fine with all of us.  Brendon and I stayed the night in the city and saw Perry and Kelsey off, as they were headed to Las Vegas for a week.

I enjoyed my time off from the office with a lazy day here and there, but before we knew it, it was Christmas Eve.  Brendon had to work that day, so I gave him a ride over early that morning before I came back and already got to work prepping supper that night.  We had our family's traditional Christmas Eve supper, consisting purely of finger foods.  Along with a veggie tray and potato chips that we had, I cooked up some Italian meatballs, chicken wings, and some black tiger prawns that I bought at Charlie's Seafood Market on 8th in Saskatoon.  These things were massive, and they turned out great.  Everything turned out pretty good, to be honest.  Brendon and I ate up, then we went out to my uncle Dale and aunt Lois's to be with family, including my cousins Gene and Patti and their families from Alberta.  I really enjoyed the comradery and visiting with those folks.  Christmas Eve also happens to be Lois's birthday, so there was also cake. Score!

On Christmas Day itself, Brendon and I opened the few presents that were still wrapped, having opened gifts at Perry's a week earlier, before we got ourselves gussied up and hit the city, where we had Christmas at my niece Carly and nephew-in-law Casper's home.  I was so happy to be there, and grateful that I was with such close family.  The food was great, the atmosphere was festive, and the times had that evening were very enjoyable and memorable.  In all honesty, I think that many of our relatives knew that with this being the first Christmas without Mom, things would feel difficult and hard on us, so that's why we found ourselves with the invitations.  I don't care the reasons why, I only care that my family reached out and included us, and for that I'm so eternally grateful.  All of it resulted in my heart being full and my soul feeling nourished.

The rest of my holidays weren't quite as busy, but they were still very enjoyable.  Brendon and I decided that we needed to get out of the house as we were feeling like hermits a couple days after Boxing Day, so we went over to Rosetown and had a great supper at The Right Spot, followed by checking out Christmas decorations over there.  From there, a couple nights later, I went to Saskatoon with my buddy Kyle to check out the new Spider-Man flick, and then I did the exact same thing with Brendon 24 hours later.  Yep, same movie and same theatre.  We also checked out the Forestry Farm lights and had a great supper at Mano's, where Brendon and I celebrated the incoming new year.  Well, actually, the new year passed while we were in the middle of Spider-Man, but anyway...

Yes, it was a busy month, but it was the best kind of busy.  I'm just so elated to be able to say that I enjoyed all of it.  Still, I can only imagine how much better all of it would've been if Mom was here to enjoy it all with us.  I'm telling you, she would have absolutely adored the lights down in the Outlook park.

Looking back on it, I can honestly say it was the most enjoyable 31-day period I've had in a very long time.  So, I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who made it so enjoyable.  You all mean so much to me.

To prosperity going forward!

For this week, that's been the Ruttle Report.