Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 11: Thanks, Giving Day

This year's thanksgiving day was one of the happiest in my memory. My siblings and I were all together along with Paul and Angela, two of the most forebearing in-laws in the world!; all five of my nephews were present; people beloved in our lives - Don, Norma, Ralph and later on Brenda - joined us; and our wonderful Dad crowned the day with his wisdom and wit and kindness and joy. There is still a great absence, perhaps thinly veiled but there nonetheless. How she would have loved today with those she loved all around her!

Serving the soup

Butternut squash bisque

We gathered at 1 o'clock, with everyone contributing toward a spectacular feast. The table had been set with care and fruit punch was being poured. Soup was ladled and thanks were offered.

As we ate, Allan gave us a reading and then we went around the table saying one thing for which we were grateful right now. "Pie," said the youngest among us. "Josephine," said I.

Don said he was grateful that back in 1988 he hired the first of the Ironside sisters, Cath. He said he was only sorry he didn't get Bronwyn too. Paul, sitting right next to Don, didn't miss a beat: "I'm thankful for the one Don didn't get!"

Turducken! (Don't try this at home ...)

Passing the bread basket

After the soup came the main course, featuring turducken (turkey stuffed with dressing and duck, stuffed with dressing and chicken), which was served on an old Anjerakandy Estate platter, a platter so old that when it cracked and broke, someone repaired the china by drilling tiny holes and sewing it up with very fine steel thread.

Part of what was so touching in its intimacy to me is that we spontaneously served each other throughout this dinner; usually we default to buffet style because of our large numbers. But the simple act of waiting on someone else and holding the food for them to help themselves - of delaying one's own gratification in deference to another - reinforced in my mind the need to pause and be thankful for the bounty I am provided with each day, physical, mental and spiritual.

It was such a pleasure to sit near my nephews and hear a little of what is going on in their lives (new truck, dengae fever, university, contact lenses, music).

After lunch, it was time for the men to rest ...

... while the women watched as the veritable buffet of mouth-watering desserts was garnished ...


Bronwyn's chocolate orange trifle ...

... and Oliver's cherry pie


The afternoon was filled with the sounds of laughter; the muffled barking of dogs as the boys played football with Roxie and Zoe outside; the murmur of quiet confidences shared; and the little pockets of profound silence as we pondered all the blessings we have received as a family.

Am I interrupting?!

Ready for her close-up



Showing the young 'un who's still boss

 The hearts of their families are in the hands of these two amazing women

You're never too old for a moment with your Mom or Dad!

As the day reluctantly beckoned to the twilight and we started to pack up and make plans to see each other again, I could only marvel at what a gift a close family is. None of us has been exempt from pain or hardship over the last year. But how much worse it could have been if we didn't have each other as a sounding board, a shoulder, a swift kick in the pants when needed, a shelter in the time of storm.

As long as I have my siblings, my cornucopia overflows.


  1. It truly was a beautiful day, abounding in thanksgiving - it was in the air we breathed and certainly the food we ate and it came from a spirit of generosity, friendship, hope and openness. Thank you all for a wonderful time. The enigmatic Cath said it well: we were One.


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