Thanksgiving Roundup

We drove down to spend Thanksgiving weekend with my parents. It was simultaneously the best and the worst drive we’ve had. The worst, because it took us an hour and forty-five minutes to get to Kirkland. The best, because after that it was clear sailing. We left after HRH and the boy got home, which meant we hit the highway at about 4:15. Sure, that’s the beginning of rush hour, but we accounted for that and even so it should have been okay… except there was an accident on every single highway we took: on the bridge into town, on the 20 west, and on the 13 north. The 40 west was just slow.

Once in Kirkland we flew at our usual speed, though, and really enjoyed the deep colours of the trees lining the road. The boy got to watch a small light plane take off at the private airstrip, keeping pace with us as it taxied and lifted off. We picked up dinner and ate in the car, trying to catch up on some of the lost time. When night fell we pressed our heads against the passenger windows and watched the stars, tracing patterns in them and talking about constellations. The boy napped on and off, but didn’t actually sleep much. We arrived around 11:30, about an hour and a half after we’d planned thanks to the slow start. But everyone slept hard, and the next morning was bright and sunny and surprisingly warm for the season.

My parents took us up to the Halton Trolley Museum, and we spent hours there, riding all the operational trolleys, having a hot dog picnic, and strolling through two huge sheds of old trolleys and streetcars. It was the perfect day for an outdoor museum like this one. The sky was that perfect autumnal blue, the sun was golden, and the colours on the trees of the forest through which the tracks wound were quintessentially fall. Our last trolley ride was on the 327, an open trolley car from the late 1800s, and the motorman asked if it was our first visit. When told that it was, he told the boy he could ride up front with one adult, and that was such a treat. The sun and the smell of the leaves, the sound of the wheels on the rails and the soft grind of the pantograph on the wire above were wonderful. Trolleys are so relaxing. The older ones had exquisite stained glass accents, pendant lighting, glowing woodwork, and lovingly restored plush or leatherette seating. In the sheds we found an old green trolley that used to run through our own neighbourhood between downtown Montreal and Granby in the 1930s to the 1950s, a trip that would take about two hours.

The next day was just as beautiful as the day before. The boys washed the car, and my cousin and his family came over for Thanksgiving dinner, at which my mother excelled as usual: Beef Wellington (for ten!), roasted heirloom carrots, fennel, and potatoes, French beans, rolls, and for dessert there were butter tarts, pumpkin tarts, and a lemon pie. There’s nothing like seeing a huge roast wrapped in a crust come out of the oven like that. And for hors d’oeuvres before it all there were three cheeses, smoked salmon, and three pâtés, and there was a lovely Henry of Pelham red wine. Seriously, it was divine. And it was great family time, too. Mum had some leaf garland and ghost-making crafts lined up for the kids, bless her, and I love spending time with my cousin and his family. We washed all three kids in the tub together (we’ll have to stop that at some point, but right now they’re still young enough to think it’s a big treat and they look forward to it) and off they went home, and the day was over.

The drive home the next morning went really well, too, although it’s always harder going home because everyone’s had an intense couple of days and late nights. It felt wonderful to come home to the house after our first trip away.

Tuesday was a decent cello lesson, where we started working on my piece for the December recital. It was nice to hear my teacher say that it would be ready with no problem after a bit of a late start on it. I did work on it this past spring on my own thinking I’d play it at the spring recital, but we ended up not doing it because we missed a month of lessons due to various things.

It’s Halloween in two weeks and I have to finish designing the boy’s costume. The costuming was hidden behind We Are Going Away For Thanksgiving Weekend and The Wedding The Next Weekend, but once we’re past that it’s clear sailing. His school photos came in too, so we’ll have to sit down and go through the website to choose a background and order them. I’m personally leaning towards a traditional non-photo background, because I find the photo backgrounds really detract from the person in the picture.

Fibro-wise I am starting to settle with the meds again. It’s hard to get up in the mornings, a side effect I remember very clearly from last time. I need to adjust the time when I take the pills, otherwise I’m groggy for too much of the morning. Work is going well, too; I got a lot of writing done today on the sample entry for the proposal due next week, and it’s the best work day I’ve had since before we moved.

There you are. That’s about it so far.

9 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Roundup

  1. jan

    Speaking of Halloween, would you like a pumpkin from our garden? We have two good-sized ones, and since we don’t get trick-or-treaters out here, they will ultimately just be going for chicken food. I’m on the south shore on Tuesdays for the next couple of weeks, so I could drop by yours…

  2. Tara

    I always love hearing about the Thanksgiving feasts of others. Must be the foodie in me.

    Beef Wellington for Thanksgiving. My God I would love to try that! But I’m American, and if I brought such a thing to the Thanksgiving dinner table, I would be punched in the face. Turkey or bust for us:(

  3. Lu

    My family has always been more interested in the stuffing than in the meat. We switched to chicken from turkey (because we all prefer it), but if I could have stuffing AND beef wellington … well ..

    glad to know that your medication stuff is settling down!

  4. Autumn Post author

    Someday I should photograph one of my mother’s meals from prep to serving. You know, just to really make you all moan and gnash your teeth. My mum isn’t a fan of turkey, although she makes spectacular ones. We often have some sort of roast beef variation for major holiday meals, or a capon instead.

    Lu, what you need is a second oven so you can roast a chicken AND make a small Wellington!

    Jan: Yes please! That would be wonderful! And I can cook it afterward for soup!

    Tara: You could always do one for Easter, or New Year’s, perhaps? When the extended family insisted on turkey my mum would do one for Christmas, then do a roast beef for New Year’s.

  5. Tara

    You don’t have to worry, Autumn. I’ll totally make some new suggestions for the upcoming holidays. Now, if I can only make it through Thanksgiving. I do so hate turkey.

    Lu: I worship at the altar of the stuffing gods, too! I ignore the turkey and fix myself a helping or two (or seven) of my mother’s fabulous sage and sausage stuffing with some gravy. I could seriously make a whole meal from this alone.

  6. Autumn Post author

    A whimsical reason for turkey: You can fit more stffing into it than in a chicken! Although I and others I know usually end up with so much stuffing that we need to bake the extra in a separate pan! Mmm, fried slices of stuffing the next day, with leftover gravy… along with fried leftover mashed potatoes and turnip.

    Has anyone ever tried roasting a goose? Maybe I’ve read too many Victorian novels, but that’s something I’ve wondered about.

  7. jan

    I had goose a couple of times in the UK for people’s birthday dinners. It’s essentially the same process as roasting a large turkey, but it dries out very easily, so you have to be very careful to cover the breast & baste, etc.

  8. pasley

    Man, but I love old trains and trolley cars! I love the look of them, the feel and smell of them (the few times, at the railway museum, I’ve been able to feel and smell the interiors), and the period they evoke, which was so much about comfort and elegance, and traveling at a comparatively relaxed and leisurely pace so that you could actually enjoy the journey itself.

    Re. goose: We roasted one once for xmas dinner. Very fatty and not much meat. Also very very rich and gamy, which is not to everyone’s taste. I find it pretty gross, to be honest, but then I feel the same about duck. Turkey I find blander than a good chicken, but all the leftover meat is great for pot pies and so on.



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