Food and drink: The ghost of Whistler Christmas past 

Into the snow globe with Florence Petersen

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"Kelly and Dick Fairhurst, who operated the lodge and lived here year-round, would bravely and gallantly let the lodge be used for our gatherings. It was like our community centre. We often couldn't stay in our own cottages because we had no heat, so we would rent one of theirs.

"They had a generator so they had heat and electricity to run the stoves and things, and we would all share and have a great gathering. Even the year when the lodge wasn't finished we used sawhorses with plywood sheets on top for tables and uncut logs and the base of planks for seats."

Florence and Kelly would cook the turkey, and everybody brought something - hors d'oeuvres, vegetables, potatoes, casseroles. Macaroni and cheese was big, especially with the kids. And there was always red Jell-o with fruit in it for dessert, topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

New Year's festivities were usually up at the old school, where there was a gas generator. The gramophone had to be wound up by hand when the gas ran out.

Everyone would dance - even the kids and there was at least a dozen of them running around and generally having a great time. The Fairhursts, the Gows, the Doves and the Burgesses (the latter no relation to Dr. Rob) all joined in the holiday fun.

"We'd do that old English dance and song - you put your right foot in, you put your right foot out, you put your right hand in, put your right hand out... Then you put your whole self in and you shake it all about." By this time Florence is singing as she remembers the tune.

"You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around. That's what it's all about!" And that's what it was all about - good friends, good food and good fun, hokey pokey or no. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Except you may not ever have had to phone around to find enough stoves to cook Christmas dinner on when the power went out like Jenny Busdon once did. And I doubt that you've ever watched a coyote trot off across the white expanse of a frozen lake with your leftover turkey with all the trimmings stuffed in its mouth. What a Christmas that coyote had!

But I'm sure you've all made your own fun in your own way, and now you can add a Whistler Christmas tradition as perfect as a snow globe to your holidays with Auntie Flo's shortbread.

No, Auntie Flo isn't Florence, it's her mom, Florence Strachan, a highland lass through and through, born in Aberdeen, Scotland.

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