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The Rescuers

The main character in the movie Forest Gump is known for several memorable quotes, including, "My momma always said, life was like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're gonna get."

Not bad, Forest, but I think that life is like a paper chain of Christmases, strung from year to year. And if we look closely enough we can see them!

My team from work and I, always have a Christmas dinner here at our house. It's been happening for almost 20 years, which is quite a tradition. I cook roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, the potatoes and gravy, and everyone else brings the other parts of the meal. We look forward to just hanging out together with no pressure, playing board games and reading stories out loud that make us laugh. Stuart McLean is a great favourite and we laugh until we cry at such stories as, Dave Cooks the Turkey, or Polly Anderson's Christmas Party.

One year, all was going well until it was time to pop the Yorkshire pudding into the oven. It is quite a feat to have all parts of the meal ready at the same time, but on this occasion it was all coming together perfectly.

I had turned the oven temperature up high as I beat the ingredients together, anticipating the sizzle of oil reaching smoking hot, at the precise moment I finished beating. But something was wrong. No sizzle; no smoking fat. I realized with a sinking heart that the bottom element of my stove had burned out! And I had a room full of hungry people looking forward to those delicious English treats.

Never mind, I quickly convinced myself, it isn't all about the food, and I went into the room to break the news that due to technical difficulties there would be no Yorkshire puddings this year.

Two things happened. It was as if I'd delivered a bombshell. Faces fell; and every man in the room got a gleam in his eye. In seconds the stove was surrounded by a Stove Swat Team. I wanted to stop them; lunch was ready; but they were not to be stopped. One manager was on his knees in front of the open oven door, head deep inside, inspecting it, helpers close at hand. The diagnosis was confirmed--element burned out.

One of them said that he would go into town and get a new one and they'd have it in in no time. I went to ask Jay, my son-in-law who was downstairs, for ideas. He came up--another man was now on the job. He went into the garage and took a bottom element out of an old stove we had stored out there.

They took out the old element and while one man was screwing in the new one, our boss told us how he had been doing some electrical repairs in the attic at home and come across a live wire that gave him quite a shock.

It was as he was telling this story that I grabbed my camera to record the scene. As I pressed the camera button, the flash went off and everyone in the kitchen jumped with shock.

And this was one of those times when I had an attack of uncontrollable giggles!

The men recovered from their shock; not an electric one, fortunately, and the Yorkshire puddings did get cooked.

One link in the paper chain that makes me smile.

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