Nostalgia to warm the cold winter nights

By Helen Harper

As I write this, the winter season looms in the northern sky. This is my first winter in Canada after number of years in the Arizona desert. Life has a way of bringing me back to my roots, and mine are firmly planted in Winnipeg.

As I polish up my shovel, I’m reminded of just how blessed my life has been. I happen to love the first snowfall of the season. It always reminds me of a walk I took, hand-in-hand with a new boy from high school. Such warm memories are constantly popping up in my thoughts. Life is a roller-coaster ride for all of us—sometimes rushing upwards, sometimes plummeting so fast we can’t catch our breath. As I slide into this last quarter of life, I prefer to only remember and be grateful for the good stuff.

These next three months are a test to our character and fortitude. Many of us are ancestors of those brave pioneers who settled this great country. The tenacity of those people forever amazes me. I walk from my warm home to my pre-warmed car and then off to a shopping mall with all I desire. Sod huts and ox carts are in my DNA, and I am indebted to those who have gone before.

My generation has been called the Baby Boomers. I guess we could have been called something less attractive, like Generation X. I’ve gone from Pat Boone’s soft crooning to the Rolling Stones’ gyrating hips. As a volunteer for CJNU Nostalgia Radio, I can tell you, I’m loving the old stuff.

My Dad was a whistler, something you don’t hear enough of these days. I’m the next generation, a hummer, and you cannot hum to rap.

In my teen years I went to the local community centre for Friday night’s teen dance, where a live band would play music and we would jive and waltz the night away. In the spring, the floor would squish in the gumbo of Charleswood mud upon which the building’s foundation rested. The hall didn’t need to be pretty or have chandeliers hanging from the ceiling; it just needed to be full of some great tunes and even greater friends.

Winnipeg has spawned some amazing talent. I like to think it was because of the long cold winter nights and those infamous wood-paneled rumpus rooms in the basement. Sitting around with a bunch of kids listening to a Bill Cosby comedy album was a great way to spend a Saturday evening. Fat Albert still makes me laugh, no matter how tainted the owner of the skit is.

I will always be grateful for snow forts and snow angels and skating until I couldn’t feel my toes. And, best of all, flannel sheets and a hot water bottle warming the base of my bed when I came home in the evening. I have endeavored to pass these life treasures on to the next generation, and smile as my grandchildren squeal with delight catching that first big snowflake on their tongue.

Be grateful as you read these words. Even if it’s only for the small things. They all add up, and gratitude has a warming effect.

As for winter, I say, “Come on, Mother Nature: give us your worst. We’re up for the challenge.”

CJNU Nostalgia Radio 93.7FM will once again be broadcasting from Deer Lodge Centre this coming February so mark it on your calendar and drop by for a visit. We play the music of your life, so have your requests handy. We love to dig into our music vault and find your tunes. See you soon!

Helen Harper is a volunteer at CJNU 93.7 Nostalgia Radio.