Hands across the border

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Whew! What a job! We knew we were travelling last weekend so had to give thought as to what we should take with us. It was a cross-border foray and heaven knows what can happen when you chance, unprepared, upon a trip like that.

Hmmm, we'd need a bottle of wine and, hmm, I guess another bottle of wine. We figured that was just about right. You see, the border we were crossing into was New Brunswick's with our destination being Port Elgin!

A few weeks previous we had met Jan and Don, a couple of 'Elginers', (I'm a little unsure what they call themselves) and invited them to join us for Amherst's Christmas Light-Up, church sing-along, and choir singing at Dayles. And although they had lived in Port Elgin a few years having meant to take in our town's Christmas festivities, they never had. They enjoyed it very much and to reciprocate, asked us to Port Elgin's events the following weekend, hence the need for the wine.

After leaving Bottle Number One at the home of Jan and Don, our first 'Port' of call was an annual get together held in the beautiful Victorian Verandah B&B, and hosted by the lovely Linda, the owner who moved to Port Elgin from BC after spotting it for sale on-line. Many other 'Elginerites' (I really have to find out what they call themselves!) were there as were the Claus's. Then, what to our wondering eyes should appear but two very large horses in full regalia ready to take us on a wagon ride through town while we sang Christmas carols. As in Amherst,  shops stayed open late and even the Credit Union welcomed us with raffle items and local crafts for sale. Then it was on to the restaurant for delicious pizza and chicken wings, ending up eventually at the pub where we stomped and sang along with the organ, accordion and guitar players, and ending that portion of the evening serenaded by the sweet sounding strains of a come-from- away, but now local, Newfoundlander. And finally Bottle Number Two found its new home at a house party to which we had all been invited.

New friends, new stories, new jokes. As they had found in Amherst, so did we in Port Elgin. A wonderful time was had by all!

The next day, alive with this sense of new found adventure having made it through the cross border experience, we threw caution to the wind and drove to Oxford for their Christmas House Tour. Five homes had opened their doors to do their part in heralding the start of the season. As a result, we drove to areas we would otherwise have no reason to see and even stopped at an old grave yard as we drove around. Then out for dinner at their local restaurant where we met up with Springhill friends, ending the evening with tea and a display of nativity scenes at Oxford's Trinity United Church. And that day brought more talk and more stories and more laughter.

I really can't fathom how the Grinch could ever think he could steal Christmas. It's just everywhere! The decorations! The excitement! The feeling! And then there's what we learned. People from across the border are just like us. They even have the same Prime Minister and Senate and have heard of Toronto, so we really do have a lot in common! So from both sides of these borders, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Shelia Graham is a member of the Amherst News Community Editorial Panel.

Organizations: Credit Union, Christmas House Tour, Trinity United Church Amherst News Community Editorial Panel

Geographic location: Port Elgin, Amherst, New Brunswick Oxford Toronto

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