Pepto and Gravy circa 2000.

In the year 2000, I spent my last Thanksgiving with my father.  I could say to you that I didn’t know it’d be his last one, but that’d be a lie.  My father had already been battling cancer for three years by this point.  Even the Christmas before, it didn’t look like he would make it through the winter.  But here it was, ten months after that and we were gathered around the table to eat as a family.

We ate as a family for the last time that weekend.  My mother, my father, my sister, my girlfriend (who ended up being my future wife) and me.  The entire experience was awful; and not just because of my father’s cancer.

First of all, the dining room at my parents place now had a hospital bed in it.  A bed that my father refused to sleep in.  He preferred to sleep in his recliner. So, because this large bed was in the dining room, the dining room table moved into the spare room.  A Pepto-bismal pink painted bedroom. It was enough to make you not want to eat.

But the worst part of the dinner was the hangover.  My sister, my future wife and I had gone out drinking the night prior.  Heavily drinking.  We were destroyed the next day.  So much so that my sister had to call me in the late afternoon to wake me up and see if I was still going to show up.  We got to the house and at dinner, my sister drowned her plate of food in gravy.  I couldn’t handle it, so I had to excuse myself for a moment.

At the dinner, my father knew what was up.  Even in his morphine induced state, he knew we were recovering. He made fun of us. But he did so with a smile.  Perhaps he saw youthfulness in us.  Perhaps he enjoyed watching others suffer their own stupidity.  I’ll never know. 

So today, as you spend Canadian Thanksgiving with your friends and family, just remember that they may not be there next time.  

My father wasn’t able to make one more turkey dinner…

Dinner is served.

Today my family and I are celebrating Thanksgiving.  I’m not sure celebrating is the right word.  We are having a turkey dinner with all the fixings followed by apple pie for dessert.  

Home made apple pie.

Eating dinners as a family is one of the most important things that I have found we need to do.  On long days, we will still eat dinner together at 9pm.  It gives us time to communicate and share about our day or plans for the next few days.  We encourage our children to help prepare meals or set & clear the table.  We have done this their entire lives in order to make it a habit.

Getting some videogames ready on the Wii-U.

Tonight’s dinner is no different.  From preparing the apple pie yesterday to stuffing the bird today, we all work together.  Most of our afternoon involved relaxing reading books, playing videogames, practicing piano, or in my case-taking a nap.  All of this whilst we enjoyed the aromas of the garlic and stuffing as it emanated from our oven as the bird cooked to perfection.

Best invention EVER!

We peeled potatoes, set the table, and poured the wine into our good crystal (Sprite for the kids).  Everyone hustled around to get the dinner perfect.  It was only for us, but the kids wanted it to be special.  

Today I raise a glass and give Thanks to my family and friends.  May you all have full stomachs and hearts as we journey though the holidays over the next few months.

High quality cranberry sauce. Still in can shape.

Giving Thanks

This weekend is the Canadian Thanksgiving.  I don’t know the history of it, but pretty sure Google could help me in that matter.  Moving on from not knowing the original history of it, my history of Thanksgiving has been a time of sharing with friends.

Mmmm food stuffed inside other food.

Almost every year since my wife and I met, we would have a large turkey dinner on either the Sunday or Monday and invited some friends over.  I love dinner parties.  They make me feel all warm inside when I see the joy on people’s faces as they eat our food.  Those who have come over in the past have wanted to return in the years that followed. 

I plan on hating myself this Sunday.

The fact that our friends eat so much and we hardly speak during the meal- means we have done something right.  We make a glorious turkey dinner.  Oh yes, I am serious and may be slightly bragging with this fact.  We eat until we are immobile.

Not in my home!

We don’t have family over.  My mother and sister live far away, and my wife’s family often does an uncomfortable dinner at her sister’s home.  Ours is usually just friends who need a place to eat because their family is elsewhere or they don’t have a commitment for the weekend.  It makes for a more joyous occasion with lots of food and drinks.

The perfect Nuclear Family.

This year, we haven’t invited anybody over yet.  It’ll just be myself, my wife and our three children.  It’s actually because we have been extremely busy in our lives and pretty much forgot to invite anyone.  We are still having a large turkey and all the same size portions for our meal just in case anyone still needs a place to eat.  

Our table is open this Sunday.  I’m planning on getting as stuffed as the bird does.