The End of an Era!
My parents still live with just as much passion for life and its daily events as they ever have. It is really something to behold – and something from which we could all learn.
In their mid-eighties, they still observe the traditional 6:00 p.m. full-course dinner they did when all of us were still at home. The bar opens at precisely 5:30, some light but lively conversation begins in the kitchen, the wine is opened just to let it breathe, a wine steward is always chosen beforehand, (just a heads up to anyone who may ever be an unsuspecting guest!) and the candles are lit. Yes, there have always been candles!
When everyone has had food passed in china bowls, as is the usual Canadian farm tradition, the real discussions commence.
Topics are wide-ranging and just about any subject is fair game. Current events, sports, politics, and religion are standards and can always be counted upon as openers. But from there, I must warn you; it can roam wild, depending upon how much wine has been consumed!
My father and mother are natural mimics, and have been known to get up from the table in a split second to become a character from the discussion. You can then witness an entire one-act play, a private dinner theatre of sorts!
One time in particular at a huge family gathering during some Winter Olympics, the Nordic skiers were under scrutiny as all time champions. My father jumped up, raced to the front coat cupboard to grab some props, proceeded out the door in freezing temperatures and rang the doorbell! Of course, having been well trained in the routine, that meant that the person who answered had to assume the identity of the reporter! It wasn’t hard to follow his lead! He came in wearing scarf, toque, ski goggles, and carrying skis. Immediately he was in role as Olga and started improvising everything in a perfect Norwegian accent! It was absolutely hilarious and is a cherished memory for all of us! (Well, maybe not for my boyfriend at the time, who was experiencing his first dinner at our place! He could never quite close his mouth after that!)
The really cool thing is that I think they still share dinnertime in a similar way, even if they are by themselves, albeit not quite as wacky without all of us egging each other on!
Sad to say, but as much as this special traditional part of my upbringing is deeply ingrained in me; I do not carry it on in the least. I eat most "dinners" alone and I certainly have no candles burning. In fact, very few families even sit down together at regular meal times, let alone share conversations filled with humour and zest for the events of the day.
So hats off to you Mom and Dad, as you uphold a very special ritual filled with meaningful connection every single night! And, oh yeah, thanks for the memories.
Mother of Invention