As usual, my three kids and I had Christmas dinner at my parents' with our extended family (excluding my wife.) In a pleasant but shocking turn of events, my wife then invited me to Christmas dinner with our kids at her new house the next day... wow! I never thought that would occur in my lifetime.
Early Christmas morning, my brother ended up back in hospital with yet another complication from his prostate cancer surgery 3.5 weeks ago. My mother was distraught and devastated at still more bad news. We both cried over the phone a bit; me for her pain and for my brother's ordeal.
My kids were opening presents at my wife's house but my wife sent my daughters to my parents' to provide comfort and complete the meal preparation. (My wife does have a strong compassionate side to her.) As it turned out, the problem was just a continuation of the previous complication so he was discharged by late afternoon. He showed up at Christmas dinner with his wife and son and was able to eat a great dinner.
I admire his stoicism, courage and uncomplaining nature during his terrible ordeal. I just have so much new-found respect for him.
Dinner with my three children, parents, brother and all our 80ish relatives was fantastic. I had a nice buzz on from the rum and eggnog my uncle mixed for me, probably a quadruple. The dinnertime conversation included all the exciting news from the past year (who died, who got cancer and who went senile) and a shocking revelation about a failed turnip crop where the seed package contained a mixture of white, yellow and Swede turnips. A conspiracy theory involving the seed houses was suggested as the cause of this mix-up.
Dinner was absolutely delicious, the usual "English food" such as roast turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes and all the "must-have" Christmas favourites from the Old Country ranging from my favourite vegetable dish (carmelized Swede turnips / rutabagas mashed and served as a baked casserole.)
At the opposite end of the eating spectrum was a dish which was a mixture of beef liver (boiled until grey and tough, then ground up), rice, allspice, raisins and corn syrup. Every year I steel myself to eat a tablespoon of it... it serves as a good test of my gag reflex. This is an acquired taste and watching my older relatives enjoy it so, I am determined to acquire the taste for it one of these years.
In the end, it was a wonderful evening; it was great to see my brother seeming somewhat okay. It was so much more relaxing for me without my wife there. She didn't get along with anyone in my family so such events in the past were pretty tense for both of us. I never could trust her to speak to my family in an appropriate manner.
I'll blog about my feelings about being a dinner guest in my wife's house on my next post as this one is long enough.... it was a surprisingly pleasant evening!
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