Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – October 9, 2004
Dinner With Family & Friends
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – October 9, 2004 – Tonight was Thanksgiving dinner at my brother’s house. An assortment of the usual gang was in attendance. Eric – Dorothy – Eva and Linda (of Moby Dick Book Club fame) – Peter, Linda’s husband, Mark a friend of Eric’s from Ryerson and yours truly.
We all arrived within a ten minute time span and got right down to the serious business of devouring the appetizers – olives, dolmades and crackers topped with venison pate from Italy. A few glasses of red and white wine and a rum and coke later and we were well into the swing of conversation – richly laced with the predictable humour of this crowd.
Mark is an avowed Monarchist and he told us about meeting Princess Anne this past summer at the King Edward Hotel. He was with a group of people who were presented to her Royal Highness. One of those present proceeded to tell Anne that “His cousin had been a pall bearer at her grandmother’s wedding”. Of course he meant to say “funeral”. It must have been the excitement of meeting a Royal that addled his mind. I’m sure the princess was gracious in spite of the gaff, but when you think about it, it’s a pretty funny faux pas.
Conversations around the table covered a lot of ground from politics to jobs, vacations to business and finally took a predictable turn to a guy I went to school with. Somehow over the years it’s become a running joke that I dated this man – in truth we barely spoke. His fortunes have blossomed over the years and he was, or perhaps still is, the mayor of an Ontario town. On ceremonial occasions we’re sure he must don the official robes and medallions of his office.
Last night we renamed this event “Stewie and The Big Necklace.” This got an inordinate amount of play during dinner, and was actually very funny. I realize it’s one of those situations where you have to be there, but if you let your imagination turn to thoughts of Mayor Stewie in city council chambers, clad in nothing but the big necklace, you’ll get the drift.
Dorothy prepared one of her signature dinners. Stuffed roast pork, mashed potatoes, leeks and brussels sprouts (that caused a round of inquiries about how we know for sure that sprouts are really from Belgium) and squash. Coffee and dessert followed – a walnut and cranberry tart with home made vanilla ice cream. The best roast pork I have ever had (I got an end piece) – what a magnificent meal. A
After dinner we nattered on about being in our fifties, retirement options, young kids today and how much they like us because we’re so cool (not likely) and other mundane stuff like our jobs. We toasted the host and hostess, the dinner, the Queen (for Mark) and sometimes we raised our glasses for no particular reason at all, or just to toast Thanksgiving one more time. It was a lovely evening.
I sat and surveyed the table. I’d been put at the head for some unknown reason. I like these people. They’re bright, funny, employed, curious, entertaining, witty, challenging and outgoing. Not a twit in the lot. With a full stomach and a beautiful home to return to, I thought about how really fortunate I am – what a blessed life I lead. I have more than the usual grumbles because I’m riddled with anxiety and have an over-active, disaster prone imagination, but my days are routinely filled with a mixture of blessings.
I thought about people who are not so fortunate in all the countries around the world and I said a silent “thank you” to the Fates who decided that I’d be a white woman of means, with a quick and intelligent mind, a raucous sense of humour, living in Canada, with a strong, supportive family, friends good and true and the ability to appreciate my life. The harvest season is a time for family, friends, sharing, quiet reflection and gratitude.
If you don’t usually think about how truly blessed you are, then pause for a moment and “really” cerebrate your life. My silent prayer of “thank you” to the Universe has become part of my daily routine. Oh, I freely admit that I’m not successful all the time with the gratitude bit. I go off on “poor, poor me” tangents from time to time, but overall I get it , and I’m sure you do too when you think about your life. Call a friend or family member with whom you’ve been remiss and say a simple “thank you” for their friendship. Ask them if you can do anything for them, and if you can then do it. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!