New snow transforms into canvas and sleigh tracks into a paintbrush as word artist Wayne Curtis creates Christmas scenes as heartwarming as those of Dickens, minus artificial contrivances. They’re suffused with the warmth of a wood fire, the sounds of Miramichi kitchen-party fiddles and church bells at midnight and illuminated by telling details of which Curtis is a master.
Because these stories are based on truth –our truth as Maritimers– they’re not all ‘happily ever after’ tales. Grandparents die, lovers aren’t reconciled, economic realities keep a Wish Book Christmas a fantasy; however parents make loving sacrifices, excited children proclaim a lop-sided fir tree perfect, grown sons return from Ontario, families and neighbours come together.
Written over a period of 50 years, this collection of Christmas memories is a generous offering from a gifted writer who has much to share about the importance of family and community and especially “life’s most valuable possession” –memory– which lives on “like coals in the ashes of burnt out fantasies” and “brightens like a drifting flake of snow.”
Sleigh Tracks in New Snow: Maritime Christmas Stories
By Wayne Curtis
$18.95, publisher, 160 pp.
Pottersfield Press, August, 2014