For many years we’ve been collecting at Mary and Dom’s for Canadian Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite family holiday. And this year we got to christen the new kitchen and dining room.

Thanksgiving 032

left to right: Rose, Dom, Daniel, Ciccio, Dave, Mafalda, Christian, Seane, Alyssa, Derrick, Milio, Gina, Christine, Dana
(Mary and Mario are missing. I’m taking the picture; I don’t know where Mary is.)

I head out Friday night and drive 2 hours to Fredonia, NY; stay overnight at a B&B and in the morning head out for Toronto. Saturday, I saw Dave and Christian before they went off to play golf. Also saw Isabelle before she went to church services.

Seane, Ciccio, Mafalda and I had lunch on the cedar deck with its cathedral roof framing the autumn trees. We then headed out to Mary and Dom’s. (The QEW and the 401 on a weekend – an LA experience in Canada.)

The eating and drinking begin as soon as we get there. The wine comes out, we start laughing and messing with each other. This year the messing was about my hair. Gina kept telling me it made me look old. My answer, I am old. The rebuttal, But you don’t want to look it. Me, I don’t care. Next, Mafalda threatened to cut it. At one point she came up behind me with scissors. I looked to Alyssa for support, because at a younger time she had cut her hair while playing with her dolls and we all mess with her about that. I was hoping she would be on my side, BUT she would never go against zizi Mafalda. She likes zizi Mafalda way more than she likes me.

Christine and her daughter Dana joined us this year for the afternoon bantering and the mixed-up dinner. (Dinner begins with Gina’s lasagna, this is followed by turkey, my American stuffing, mashed potatoes, Italian rapini and Canadian desserts.) Christine has become family. And she can mess with the best of us.

Christine reads the journal and then reports to Mary on my whereabouts or reflections. (She has been secretly wishing for a mention. Honey, this is your debut – a pic and two paragraphs.) I have to be careful what I write, Christine is good at reading things in the entries that I think are hidden or not there. She can recognize nuance and interpret it.

Around 10:00, Dave, Christian, Seane the parents and I headed back to Oakville. I usually leave to come home Sunday morning at the crack of dawn. (Anything to avoid the QEW jams.) This year I had made arrangements to visit with Frank and Norma, so I was there Sunday morning to spend time with Seane and the parents.

At noon and headed back into town to visit with Frank and Norma. (Francino and I first met back in 1964, the summer before 8th grade. Two Calabrese kids living in the Soo. He’s from San Giovanni in Fiore and I’m from Aprigliano. The hill-towns are 45 minutes apart. We have been in each other’s lives through schooling, college, weddings, births and deaths.)

I missed visiting with Norma. She was out with her cousin. I enjoyed my time with Francino, but then I always do.