Dec 9/44 Holland
Well this is Holland calling again. I wonder how you are all percolating at home. Right now I am just returned from 48 hours leave in Ghent in Belgium. We had good beds, good eats and lots of good hot water. The Belgian people billet our troops when on leave and are very good to us. I stayed at an officers leave hotel but had the other billets to arrange and it was quite a chore. One is amazed by the way most Belgians speak English. The Dutch do too but not nearly so many of them. The Dutch padre and I had arranged a service here for Sunday but we are moving so I won't have to play the organ this weekend.
We havent been doing too much work lately as we have been in a quiet portion of the time and the water being so high in Holland operations are hampered. They have St. Nicholas day here on Dec 5 instead of Dec 24 and the kids enjoy it here the same as they do the big day in Canada.
I have four parcels unopened ready for the Xmas season so feel lucky enough. There is very little of the Xmas gift practise around here as the people just havent anything except the necessities. They do give us apples which they have plenty of and these apples taste very good. We cant complain, we live in billets now when we arent out on duty and are reasonably comfortable. Tonight all the officers are gathered round a stove and you cant beat that. Had letter from Bill [brother] the other day and he is right up on the bit as usual. I get all the local news from the Harriston Review.
Lieut Ras Barber [Jim's friend from Drew] was in to see me yesterday. He is only about fifteen miles from me just now. I also saw a couple of other boys from his outfit I knew (Lulu Bermans old boy friend was one) I am expecting to get back next year some time. So good luck to you all and Merry Xmas to the whole family and Aunt Kate & Tot.