Sleigh bells ring are you listen'in, in the lane snow is glisten'in a beautiful sight we're happy to tonight.... I think that I have shared my love of horses with you (a few dozen times). Although I hate the cold, I love a sleigh ride. The motion of the wagon / sleigh soothes every single care in the world. When I am in that sleigh / wagon the outside world does not exist, the only plane of reality is the one that I am in that very second in time. It reminds me what is important, my family.
For quite a few years a horse drawn sleigh ride was a part of my family's Christmas tradition. We would gather together our close family and friends and go for a sleigh ride with this lovely man named Mr. Parks who had horses on the Shannonville Road. This tradition was something that made our Christmas. Mr. Parks loved his horses, and he loved that we loved his horses. After we had done our sleigh ride he would start up a fire, and we would all sit around the fire and toast marshmallows, cook hot dogs, and drink hot chocolate from from our thermos. It was our special, magic time together. The last sleigh ride we took as a "whole" family was December 17, 2004, just three days before the car accident that forever changed us. The last picture that I have of Gabe was taken at that sleigh ride.
Sleigh rides became bitter sweet from that moment on. The memories were beautiful, but the pain was just too much to bare, and so that tradition was put up on a high shelf. The last few years I have longed to bring that tradition back to our family. I miss that feeling of peace that the ride brings. I miss that look of unadulterated joy that every single member of my family wears when they were on the sleigh ride. I think that there has been enough time that I can separate the pain of missing Gabe, and remember him with love instead of that aching pain. I think he would want his baby sister to have that joy that we all shared, she has never been on a horse drawn sleigh ride.
Last May our school held it's annual Fun Fair. As part of the Fun Fair we have a silent auction. One of the silent auction prizes was a "Horse Drawn Sleigh / Wagon Ride". It was generously donated by the family of one of Grace's classmates. Lion and Raquilda Van Zoeren own "Odd Corners Farm" in Thomasburg, Ontario. Part of their donation was the sleigh ride and hot chocolate and cookies. Christopher and I decided then and there that no one would out bid us for that auction item. We kept creeping back to make sure that we were still the highest bidders. We were ecstatic when we learned at the end of the night that we were the winners! Our family would have their tradition brought back.
December 23 we will be going for Elly's very first sleigh / wagon ride. It will just be our little intimate family (Christopher and the kids and my parents and I). I am really looking forward to it. I plan to bundle up and enjoy. I do not know Lion and Raquilda although I have smiled at them and said hello a few times, but I can only imagine what nice and fun people they are knowing their son Wesley. Wesley is one of the cutest most lively kids that I know. I am really looking forward to this.
Lion and Raquilda's Odd Corners Farm is 135 acres ( I can hardly wait). The sleigh ride is approximately 50 minutes long and can fit 10 - 12 people, and comes complete with sleigh bells jingling. The cost for this including hot chocolate and apple cider is $85.00 (that is less than $10 a person, you can't go to the movies for that). If you would like to make your own beautiful Christmas Sleigh ride memories give the Van Zoeren's a call 613-478-2604 (it doesn't have to be Christmas memories, they do wagon rides all year long).