Memories of Christmas past in the Interlakes

Column: Diana Forster

Items created by the late Moira Davies included a Christmas paper angel and hand-painted glass ornament. (Diana Forster photo - submitted).

Items created by the late Moira Davies included a Christmas paper angel and hand-painted glass ornament. (Diana Forster photo - submitted).

Once upon a time, Deka’s most recognized landmark was “The Magic Mushroom.”

Standing proud on Burgess Road and shaped just like its name, it was crammed to the hilt with thousands of works of art created by its owner, the late Moira Davies. These disappeared especially fast at Christmastime, as residents and visitors alike searched for that “unique” gift. She always donated a seasonal door prize for both the annual Roe Lake Christmas Bazaar and Bridge Lake School’s annual auction. An excellent artist, Moira also taught myriad other residents to paint.

Sadly, we lost Moira in 2014, but, as a permanent resident since 1970 — then with three small children — she was well-known and respected. And, as a founding member of Deka Lake & District Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, she had a great deal to do with bringing Deka out of the “bush” and into a community.

Deka Lake & District Ratepayers’ Association’s claim to fame was the annual Children’s Christmas party at Deka Firehall. Over 30 small squealers played creative games, ate little pizzas and waved out the window to Santa, aka resident Jim Watson, as he arrived aboard a firetruck with a gift for each child. Eventually, there were almost no children on the Mahood Lake corridor, so this happiest of events died a sad death.

READ MORE: Cariboo Christmas Market coming around the corner at Interlakes

The Roe Lake Christmas Bazaar — this year’s Nov. 14’s Outdoor Christmas Craft Fair — always heralded Christmas for Interlakers.

The mitten tree at the sadly-gone Bridge Lake School was unique. Children who for whatever reason did not have mittens, could take a pair off the tree, no questions asked. Many Interlakes residents made dozens of pairs every year to keep our wee ones’ hands warm.

And the school’s delightful Christmas Concert always included a turkey dinner, harmonious carol-singing and, of course, the Jolly Old Elf with a small gift for everyone.

A Christmas highlight was Interlakes Snowmobile Club’s “Santa’s Practice Run” on Sheridan Lake when some 40 snow- and gopher-mobiles circled the entire lake. Led by a reindeer-powered sleigh carrying Santa and Mrs. Claus, all the elves, fairies and Christmas angels followed. Everyone was there — Frosty, Rudolph, the Cat in the Hat, Little Drummer Boy, Three Wise Men, Scrooge, and the delightful Toyland Express Train pulling a carriage full of donated toys.

As I said 20 years ago: ”Carols rang out, Santa ho-hoed, and the long, merry parade roared its way into many a memory.”

Birthday bubbly goes to Bill Adams, Elaine Adams, Piper Loft, Denise Waldner, Kris Verheul and Roy Winton.

Extra-special congratulations to Joice & Danny Jenewein on their 60th wedding anniversary, Dec. 30.

I wish all my readers a wonderful, albeit quiet Christmas, with special blessings for those who have reason to be sad; and a Happy New Year with visions of no-COVID for us all.

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