Sleigh bells are in the air in the latest book by local historian Claudia Smith.

BWOM-2-cover- promoBy Word of MouthSnowdrifts and Sleigh Bells captures the challenges of long ago winters in rural Lanark County and invites you into seasonal celebrations.

The launch of the book will be held in the Middleville Community Hall on November 13.

This charming book is a collection of winter and Christmas articles written by Claudia, over the last 26 years, for the Lanark Era. You will hear the crunch of snow as people go to poultry fairs, rural school concerts, shooting matches and millponds to skate. You will stand beside a horse-drawn snow-plough as the teams are given a break from the heavy work and the men stamp their feet to keep warm. You will feel the bite of the wind as the rural mail sleigh bucks the drifts. And you will join the throngs of people travelling on the K&P Railway, heading home for Christmas.

School and community concerts were popular events for young and old. Read about a “Grand Balloon Descension with Captain Santa Claus,” an 1885 extravaganza at the Almonte Town Hall that featured the “descent of Santa Claus in a mammoth and beautiful balloon that was literally covered with a great variety of handsome presents.”

By Word of Mouth – Sleigh Bells and Snowdrifts is illustrated with vintage photographs and drawings as well as a number of full-colour old post cards that are guaranteed to delight the reader. Of particular note in the cards are the many guises of the snowman, from a World War II soldier to a snow-couple sitting romantically close on a log at a skating party.

The book launch on Sunday, November 13 is from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Come by the Middleville Community Centre to meet the author and enjoy some refreshments. There will also be book signings at the Book Nook in Perth on Saturday, November 26 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. and at Mill Street Books in Almonte on Sunday, December 11 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. All proceeds will go to the ongoing work of the Middleville Museum.

Claudia’s new book is like a favourite box of chocolates — just open it at any place and you’ll be tempted to read another and another.

Submitted by the Middleville Museum