"On the night of December 24, 1976, when I was eight years old and my brother was 11, my father drove my mother into Edmonton because she was in need of what I have come to term “a mini vacation (from reality),” which meant a stint in the local psych ward. This vacation of hers ultimately left my brother and me in a rickety, half built shack in backwoods Alberta: alone the day before Christmas.
It was Christmas Eve, my parents were still not back and there was no food in the house to be found. My brother and I decided to take matters into our own hands, so he grabbed his .22 rifle, I equipped myself with my pellet gun, and we trekked out into the forest in the snow to find something to eat. We saw a few grouse and a rabbit, but they moved too quickly for our small bodies in the deep snow. I looked up into a tree and saw a squirrel poke out its head to see what was going on and pointed at it for my brother to see. As it turned out my brother was a pretty good shot because he shot the squirrel, which fell out of the tree to the ground in its death. We took it back to the house where we skinned it and cleaned it like we had seen done to so many animals before, although usually they were much bigger. We had a feast that night of freshly diced up squirrel meat cooked over the fire burning stove with some water and flour added to make gravy. I believe that was the only present that we received that year, a warm meal in our bellies to keep us snug through the night and one to this day that I am so very thankful for. Merry Christmas to all… and to all a good night!”