Dunnville, Ontario

Famous for the spectacular Elora Gorge and its 80 foot limestone cliffs descending into the Grand and Irvine Rivers. Adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers regularly flock to Elora, Ontario to enjoy some fun and take in the natural beauty.

Many original stone buildings from the 1800′s still make up the downtown village centre. Over the decades, Elora has maintained its old world charm and the century-old buildings have been transformed into unique galleries, gift shops, artists studios and charming restaurants creating the perfect four-season shopping and dining destination.

Elora is a cultural haven with so much to offer. Rich in live music, visual arts, crafts, up-scale boutiques, natural beauty, architecture, culinary flavours, and diverse in culture; Elora provides an alternative lifestyle not typically found in small, rural communities in this day and age. Discover for yourself what makes Elora so unique and you will fall in love too!

Granny's New Boyfriend
by Shelley Norman

“What’s the matter Pip-squeak?” Mom asked ruffling my hair as she walked past my perch on the window seat. “It’s Christmas Eve and it’s raining! How will Santa come if there is no snow?” I asked innerly terrified at the thought of the big guy not showing with the doll house I’d requested on both my letter and visit to the mall Santa. “I don’t think Santa needs snow to deliver gifts. And I’m glad it’s raining not snowing that will make it easier for Granny to get here,” Mom replied. “She’s bringing her new gentleman friend with her.” “Oh no! Not the guy with the scary ear hair?” I grimaced at the memory of those long grey hairs. YUCK! “No, this is a new man she met on that cruise last month. I believe she said he’s from way up north, Christopher Cringleton,” mom said picking a stray sock off the living room floor. “Now hop down from there and clean up your toys before Granny arrives.”

I had just tossed the last Barbie into the toy box when I heard the rumble of Granny’s old pickup pull into the driveway. Running to the window I watched a chubby old man with a long white beard and a bright red winter coat hop out of the passenger side door and scurry around to open the driver’s door for Granny. Holding out his hand he helped her down to the running board and then the ground. With a big smile he reached back in and pulled out a huge bag of gifts. He seemed rather familiar looking.

By the time I made it around to front door, Granny and Mr. Cringleton were taking off their coats. “Thank you so much for inviting me for Christmas Maya,” Mr. Cringleton was saying. “I’m looking forward to a nice quiet Christmas this year.” “I’m not sure how quiet it will be with Angela running around. She’s pretty excited about Christmas this year,” Mom pointed at me, where I was getting a big hug from Granny. “Ho, ho, ho,” laughed Mr. Cringleton. “I’m used to excited children at Christmas, that’s part of the magic. I just meant how nice it is not to have to work this year on Christmas Eve.” “Christopher’s family runs a special delivery service. They are always fully booked on Christmas Eve. Sometimes working until the sun comes up Christmas Day,” Granny piped in.” “My goodness, that does sound exhausting,” my mother escorted the elderly couple into the living room. “Would anyone like some tea? And I just took a tray of shortbread out of the oven.” “That sounds lovely dear, thank you,” Granny said flopping into a rocker by the fireplace. “If it’s not too much trouble, could I have a glass of milk with my cookies, please. Milk and cookies are the perfect match,” Mr. Cringleton said as he took the rocking chair on the other side of the fire. I looked at him suspiciously. Cookies and milk and that laugh… . “No trouble at all,” Mom smiled back at him. “Angela come help me in the kitchen.”

I dutifully followed Mom into our festively decked out kitchen and watched as she placed cookies on a tray along with a teapot and cups. Then she filled two glasses with milk Handing them to me she said, “here a glass for you and could you give the other one to Mr. Cringleton, please.” I walked up to the jolly old man and handed him his glass of milk, “thank you Angela. I bet you’ve been a good girl this past year, haven’t you?” “She’s had her moments,” my mother chuckled setting the tea tray on the end table and passing around the cookie plate. “Oh, Christopher, tell Maya about the time you took your son on that Christmas Eve delivery to Japan,” Granny said waving her shortbread at Mr. Cringleton. “I love that story!” “My goodness you do overseas deliveries on Christmas Eve?” my mother exclaimed. “No wonder you are out so late.” “Well we don’t want any little children waking up without a gift under their tree, now do we,” he winked at me. This was getting a bit beyond weird.

I decided to retreat to my room to think things over. Granny’s new boyfriend was from ‘up north’, his name was Christopher Cringleton, he wears a red coat and has a long white beard, he normally spends Christmas Eve delivering packages all over the world, he laughs with a ‘ho, ho, ho’ and he eats cookies and milk. Hmm… Going back into the living room I was disappointed to see Mr. Cringleton wasn’t there, “where’s Granny’s boyfriend?” “I’m afraid he got a call that his son fell and broke his arm and he has to go back home to help with the deliveries. They are sending a company vehicle to pick him up in a few minutes. He just ran out to Granny’s truck to get a package he said he brought just for you,” Mom said cleaning up the tea things.

Walking out the front door I saw Granny waving off into the distance, at her feet sat a large box wrapped in red paper with a green bow on top.

“Christopher was sorry he didn’t get to say good-bye to you. He left this for you, but he said you can’t open it until Christmas.”

I watched as Granny carried the large box inside and put it under the tree. For the rest of the day I kept sneaking looks at that box wondering what was inside and I fell asleep that night thinking about it. So it was no wonder the next morning as soon as my eyes popped open that I ran downstairs and grabbed the box from under the tree.

I had just started to tear the paper off when Mom, Dad and Granny wandered into the living room from the kitchen in their pyjamas coffee cups in hand. My eyes widened as I opened the box and looked inside and there it was my dream doll house. The one I’d written to Santa about, and told the mall Santa I wanted. I hadn’t told Granny or even Mom and Dad. How had Mr. Cringleton knew that’s what I wanted. Unless… I looked up at Granny with the question clearly showing on my face. She just smiled and winked and took a big sip of her coffee.