I think this is the biggest family gathering we have had since my dad’s funeral. That’s usually the thing that draws everyone back home. But not today. Today it was a chance to spend a good last visit, maybe with our auntie besides just a chance to be together as a family. And sharing a special day like today with her, even if it was only by visits to the nursing home, was a good reason to visit.
All my sisters and my brother were here. Most of their children were here and most of my children were here. Altogether, we were 35 since our Spanish lodger joined us too.
The day started early. I got up to stuff the turkey and put it on to roast. I had purchased the biggest turkey I could find in the store – 11.96 Kg. so 6 hours were needed to cook the bird. Beatriz even got up early to help me peel the potatoes and we chatted together about what kind of big family celebrations her family has in Spain. Before we left for church the aroma of roast turkey was already filling the air.
At 1 we all gathered, everyone laden with their contributions to the feast and we had a wonderful time eating and talking long into the afternoon. Such a gorgeous day.
Family can be very special and I am blessed. They make me very thankful for the relationships we have that have enriched our lives almost beyond belief.
A day to be thankful and a day to be thankful for.
Over at Flikr I’ve loaded up a set of photos taken on Gibraltar. This is a place we visited because of old family ties that drew us back. I was curious to see this place where my great grandfather and my grandfather served in the British Army. Serving in the British Army was a way to escape the poverty of England and so my great grandfather left England first for India, where my grandfather was born in Karachi, and then other places around the British Empire till when my grandfather was about 16 and could enlist as well, they ended up in Gibraltar.
Some of the photos I’ve taken show the military nature of the Rock. It must have been an arduous place to serve a term. The road we walked down from the summit of the rock was one that the soldiers would have had to walk up many times, I’m sure.
Large rings in the rock were placed there to assist the teams of men who moved heavy guns up and down those same roads. We think sometimes of the enjoyment of the sun. I wonder if the soldiers rejoiced in it or cursed its heat as they were climbing.
It is from Gibraltar that my ancestors emigrated to Canada. I guess they were used to hard work but the introduction to cold must have been a real shock. yet they stayed, laboured again under adverse conditions and helped build Canada. I suspect most of us have gotten soft over the years. We owe much to our forebears.
Leo and I rode the cable car to the top of The Rock and then walked down. It was a long day of walking. We probably did 10 Kms and it was not all downhill. It was a good way to see the place. At the end of the day we had a meal in a place on the waterfront called the Ipanema where they served Brazilian style – endless meats grilled and passed on huge skewers. Wonderful end to a great day.
I have finally made it to our visit to our friends Maria and Cipriano Almeida’s home, farm and vineyard in a little town near Seia in Portugal. The set can be found here on Flikr. There will be more photos to add later.
Visiting my auntie is taking up much of my spare time. It is well used. I don’t now how much longer we’ll have her to visit. Mostly I just sit with her but last night I found that she still enjoys music so I plugged her ear in to my i-pod and she listened to some classical stuff I have on there. Think I’ll upload some old hymn favourites for her.
Just seeing if I can upload video.
And I think I’ve got it.
If so I will upload some videos we take while on vacation. Hopefully quality will improve as we go.
And I guess it shouldn’t surprise me.
At 11pm last night I left the office leaving one little girl more comfortable and happier. I moved a very displaced tooth back to where it should have been before she crashed on her rollerblades. The tooth beside it had, unfortunately, departed permanently – no one knew where.
Came home to my son and family who were watching a movie. I was beat so went to bed. A few hours later my sleep was interrupted by the phone. I was in a deep deep sleep and woke up thinking that the phone was just ringing. But was it just a dream? By the time I was conscious it had stopped but I knew that being on call, it probably was not just a bad dream. So, I got up and just as I was checking the messages Eric called.
Auntie had fallen again and was on her way back to the hospital by ambulance. Waited up a bit and checked with Emergency – all was under control till morning and if not they would call.
This morning before church I spent some time with her, made it to church, Kieran’s seventh birthday party and then back up to the hospital.
Sat with my aunt who was mostly dozing – in and out of sleep – me as well as I sat waiting for some word. Finally – good news. Nothing appeared to have broken again. She was going back to the nursing home – this was around 6 pm. One last trip up to My St Joes to see her safely tucked back into her own bed.
Now I feel I am ready for sleep myself but it is only 8:30 and guests are still here. Chinese food has just arrived. Who knows when everyone will head back to their own homes. I think I’ll grab some food and go chill out in a quiet corner with my feet up.
Thanks to all who are keeping my auntie in their prayers. It seems a bit of a wonder that she did not break anything new. I was so anxious for her and for our own travel plans only a week away. Wondering what to do in a worst case scenario has sort of been tearing me apart on top of my fatigue. I hope this night is quiet.
Well, it seems I have acquired a new friend. A little friend about five years old.
On the weekend when I was outside with Zaka attempting to interest him in some prolonged pedaling on his little bike – at least not to stop pedaling when he got it started – one of our new neighbours came over to see what was up. J is 5 and since Zaka is 41/2 they hit it off and had a good time. J especially liked the strawberries and ice cream that I dished out to all the grandkids and also to him. That afternoon the kids ran around and played cars and rode a bit on the bikes and watched some TV together.
Tonight, my doorbell rang. There stood J at the door. I explained that Zaka wasn’t here today, that he was at his house but assured J that I would call him over to play the next time that Zaka came for a visit.
J must have been bored or just very curious. He first wanted me to come outside and play then instead of Zaka. I told him that I was busy cooking supper and just couldn’t come out. So then he decided that our cat really needed to be petted and could he come in and pet the cat please.
You really have to see J to fully understand how helpless an adult can be trying to refuse the request of a little guy with extremely thick glasses with speech somewhat garbled from his missing front teeth.
Our doorbell rang three times during supper. In he came to check out the landscaping activity in the backyard but especially to pet the cat who willing snuggled up to him as if this was a very special kid that needed to be loved.
The last couple of hours have been so quiet. I went out and planted some of my planters, loaded the dishwasher for the umteenth time today and wiped down the table. Having a house full of people, including little ones with sticky fingers, makes for a lot of dishes and wiping up. And this afternoon while I was watching Zaka for his mom, the neighbour kids came over too. So for a while we were a hub of activity.
Leo’s brother left this morning with a load of plants and some of the hostas escaping from the edge of our flower bed – slated for annihilation anyway.
This afternoon Sara and Christian headed back to Saskatoon. Sara has loads of clean laundry and has a couple more weeks of class. Not sure just what Christian is up to. Music of some sort I guess.
Tomorrow it is back to work. It will be nice to settle back into the routine, busy as it is.
And I will have my space back.
I love having everyone here but my introverted self sure is glad when the quiet descends on us again.