Memories of Christmas past by Wun Feather

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Dec 22 2020

As you may imagine, an old guy like me has a few memories of Christmas past.

In the early 1950’s, my dad was a BC Forest Service ranger.
I was born in Terrace, but that is because my dad had bought an old homestead from one of the Marion brothers downstream from historic Telegraph Creek.
Terrace was really the biggest and closest center to Telegraph Creek, although Watson Lake YT was easier to access at the time.
He planned to get his guiding territory going, but that takes a grubsteak and a lot of work.
We lived on a lookout tower near Bella Coola, but it was too far away from the ranch, so my dad took a job working in a mining camp in the Yukon.
The photo shows the camp, and that big white Jones Tent was were my dad was the cook for the drilling crew!.
Our wall tent was set up closer to Cowley Creek.
When the core sample crew was at work we would spend as much time inside the big white wall tent!
That seemed so luxurious compared to our tent.
Our tent had a bunk bed and a small table with some chairs, and what we called an Ashley oil heater.
We would burn oil during the night, but we could not afford to keep the heater going all day, so we would let the heat go out.
By December, we learned that the workers would be going home to spend their vacation days with their families, so we were allowed to stay in the cookshack during Christmas!
That was exciting for us.
Imagine being able to stay in a nice warm tent, and leave the heat on all day!
There was enough flour and staple products for mum to bake bread, but there wasn’t any meat.
My mum and dad and set out some snares and we built what is called a “Lynx pen” not too far away.
It was so exciting when we checked the pen and discovered that a big Lynx had been fooled by the sardines we left as bait.
That Lynx became our Christmas dinner!
After eating nothing but bread and pancakes for a few days, it was nice to have some meat for Christmas.
Isn’t it ironic how we need to rush to the stores to buy everyone Christmas presents and stocking stuffers nowadays, and yet, back in the old days, a fresh leg of Lynx totally made our day!
Have we come a long ways since then?
You tell me.
That was one of the best Christmases I ever had as a boy!

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