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The Jacksons – for Dec. 18, 2008

I just can’t believe it’s Christmastime again, already.” Rose Jackson stood at the kitchen counter, watching her mixer swirl its way through a batch of Christmas cookie dough. “It seems like just yesterday I was doing all this.”

“Actually this is what you were doing yesterday,” said Andrew looking up from the newspaper he was reading at the kitchen table.

“You know what I mean,” said Rose. She stopped to look out the window for a moment, watching the snow falling gently, slowly covering the outside world in a blanket of soft sparkling white. “At least it’s finally starting to look like Christmas,” she added. “It feels wrong when there’s no snow.”

“I guess it would help if I hung the lights outside,” said Andrew. He paused. “I wonder why I am so lacking in motivation this year,” he said.

Rose turned off the mixer, picked up the mixing bowl and carried it over to the table where she seated herself in the chair across from her husband. “Every year the kids are older and a little less excited about it all,” she said. “And the grandchild is too young to care. So you have to be self-motivated.”

“Right,” said Andrew. “And we all know how that’s likely to turn out. At least in my case.”

“Don’t worry about it,” said Rose. “I’ll motivate you when the time comes.”

“I’m counting on you,” said Andrew. “And by the way, are we doing any Christmas shopping this year or what? Don’t we usually start that in September?”

“I did start that in September,” said Rose. “I bought a coffee-maker for Randy and Jackie and a whole whack of stuff for Allison. Oh, and a little something for you.”

“I thought we weren’t getting each other anything this year,” said Andrew.

“We’re not,” said Rose, getting up to fetch a cookie sheet from the drawer below the oven. “Just like every year.”

“Oh,” said Andrew. “Like every year. Good thing I’m going to town tomorrow then.” He paused. “And what are we getting for Jennifer?

“Jennifer needs a laptop,” said Rose.

“Whoa,” said Andrew. “We’re getting Jennifer a laptop? How come that girl never asks for anything…girlish?”

Rose looked up from her job of forming cookies and lining them up on the cookie sheet. “Who says a laptop can’t be girlish?” she wanted to know. “We can get her a pink one.”

“They’ve got ’em on sale at Superstore,” said Andrew. “How convenient.” He stared at his newspaper for a second, then sighed. “What a disappointment,” he said.

“What’s a disappointment,” asked Rose. “Is it the wrong shade of pink?”

“Not the computer,” said Andrew. “The prime minister.”

“The prime minister is always a disappointment,” said Rose. “It’s the nature of the job.”

“True enough,” said Andrew. “But this is particularly disappointing.” He sighed again. “Apparently I voted for a prime minister who doesn’t understand how parliamentary democracy works. How disappointing is that?”

Rose placed a final cookie on the sheet. “Doesn’t understand how parliamentary democracy works? What are you talking about?”

“It appears that the prime minister thinks that for the opposition parties to get together and form a coalition to defeat a minority government is undemocratic,” said Andrew. “Apparently he thinks the 37 per cent of voters who voted for the Conservatives have more democratic rights than the 63 per cent who didn’t. Does he not have a university education? How can you study political science in a Canadian University and not understand how a minority government works?”

“Maybe he wasn’t paying attention the day they covered that,” said Rose.

“That seems to be a pattern he’s repeating,” said Andrew. “And the journalists are no better,” he continued. “Why do they insist it’s a crisis when it’s just parliament working exactly the way it’s supposed to?”

“Well Mr. Know-it-all,” said Rose, laughing, “the journalists may not have the advantage of your many, many, many years of education in the school of hard knocks.”

“True again,” said Andrew. “Few people do.”

“And anyway,” said Rose, “since when are you on the side of the Liberals and the NDP and the Bloc?”

“I’m not on their side,” said Andrew. “If ever there was a coalition doomed to failure, that would be it. I’m just saying, they have as much right to fail as anybody else.”

Rose got up and walked over to the oven, slid the cookie sheet inside and closed the door. She turned around, grinning. “Dear Santa,” she said. “Please bring Andrew a functioning Parliament for Christmas.”

Andrew laughed. “Good try, he said, “but it won’t work.”

“Why not?” Rose wanted to know. “I haven’t been that good,” said Andrew. Rose walked over and planted a kiss on the

top of Andrew’s head. “Not good enough for democracy,” she said, “but good enough for a plate of fresh Christmas cookies.”

It was Andrew’s turn to smile. “That’s what really matters,” he said.

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