Willow Lodge lights Tree of Love as tribute to loved ones

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Open Doors career and resource centre hosts Christmas open house

TATAMAGOUCHE - Just before Christmas the Efficiency Nova Scotia Corporation advertises that they can ‘Make Our Holidays be Bright’ and they certainly do. 

The Tree of Love was lit at Willow Lodge Friday, Dec. 13, decorated with bulbs dedicated in honour and in memory of loved ones. Shown at the tree is Emma Matheson, seated, and Willow Lodge volunteer Ruth Reid. 

For several years notices have appeared that they will have a one-hour LED Holiday Light Exchange in various locations. For the last two years is has been scheduled at Willow Lodge, Tatamagouche, and also held Pugwash.

Last week many folks attended the exchange event in the lodge as it is usually at the same time as a local tree lighting event. People who brought two sets of older Christmas lights, went home with a brand new 25-bulb set of LED Lights at no cost. The LED lights save energy, using 90 per cent less energy and they last 10 times longer that traditional incandescent holiday lights. The light exchange is a win-win giveaway to everyone.

The Tree of Love was held after the light exchange and was well attended by those who live there, as well as many visitors. Everyone is always welcome to attend and volunteers come to help.

 Family and friends give donations so that loved ones have their names placed on the ornament in memory of or to honor them. Shelly LeFresne began the Tree of Love many years ago and it has become a much-loved tradition at the lodge. She leads in a worship service of remembering those we miss at Christmas. The service includes carols, prayers and the reading of all the names on the ornaments. Everyone enjoys refreshments and a social time around the fireplace.

 

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It's a Christmas tradition to go to Downey's Christmas Tree Farm before the holiday to choose the perfect tree. Even the trip in the lane accents the thoughts of the season as you travel over the long winding one-lane road banked by tall fir and spruce trees. And then, a small cleared spot appears and you arrive at the cozy home set in the forest of Carol and Dale Downey. Sometimes the friendly dogs happen to be out, but most times one can hear them talking (barking) wanting to get out to see the who has arrived to give them a pat.

 Downey is usually found working among the cut trees, baling or cutting them in a corner of the tree lot. Downey and her staff of two also might be busy in her separate baking shop. The smells are wonderful as you open the door - of pies, muffins, cookies and many more goodies that she sells, all year long, at markets in Tatamagouche, Truro and local stores. 

 Downey has regular customers who have come to get trees for years and so she usually remembers exactly what they buy and can help find a beautiful tree. For many North Shore resident Christmas would not be Christmas if it did not include a trip up to Spiddle Hill (off Highway 311) to get a Christmas tree. And best of all, especially if you have children along, they can pick their trees and even have the fun of cutting it down themselves. 

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 Christmas celebrations were held recently at Open Doors: Career Resource Centre and Employment Centre in Tatamagouche. Staff had decorated a tree, the window and prepared refreshments that included sandwiches sweets and beverages. Clients, both current and past, came to the celebrations. They were pleased that several members of the local business community dropped in. Terry Hearn from Colchester Regional Development Association came to visit too.

"It was a wonderful afternoon spent with new and old faces,” said Open Doors spokesperson Lisa Murphy Redmond.

The resource center opened in 2002 and since then has become a valuable part of the community. If you are looking for work, they offer job listings, job search assistance and computer access. They help with resume and cover letter writing assistance and all employment related services are free; other services such as sending or receiving emails and faxes are available too. 

Open Doors is located at 229 Main Street. Tatamagouche and is open Monday  to Friday daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. On staff are Lisa Murphy Redmond, Jayne Holmes and Christine Pankhurst.

 

Ellen Millard is a historian, author and longtime resident of Sand Point, near Tatamagouche. Email her at millards@nncweb.ca.

 

Organizations: Resource Centre

Geographic location: Tatamagouche, Pugwash, Carol North Shore Colchester Sand Point

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