Thankful

This Thanksgiving Monday, I am happily *full*, in all senses of the word. D’Arcy, Evan, Alex, Sarah, Olivia and I hosted our 4th annual Thanksgiving extravaganza.

For the past four years, we have hosted D’Arcy’s parents, his eight brothers and sisters and their families, and my parents for Thanksgiving Dinner. One of my favourite parts of the meal is when, in a circle around the table, we all share what we’re thankful for. Family… health… friends… “family and friends which are one and the same”… cousins that are growing up not just knowing one another, but as friends… family traditions that we value and hold dear…

We had close to 3/4 of the 40+ family in attendance, but were missing a few. With the wonders of technology, we were able to connect with D’Arcy’s brother and his wife who were in Alberta welcoming a new grandson, and our niece Kathryn who is in her first year at Memorial University of Newfoundland. We also had lovely Facebook messages from nieces and nephews who live away. Although they weren’t physically able to be present, we felt their presence at the gathering.

This year, the meal featured a 25 pound turkey, and two pork roasts; homemade savory dressing, mashed potato casserole, squash casserole, peas with red pepper and basil, six bean salad, mustard pickles, cranberry sauce, gravy and whole wheat rolls. Throughout the afternoon, family munched on shrimp, bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, olive tapanade, and salsa dip with crackers. Dessert was apple pie, pumpkin pie, and apple crisp with whipped cream – lots and lots of whipped cream! We provide the meal and our family graciously brings donations which we take to the food bank.

We are thankful for our family and friends, our health, our home which is large enough to accommodate 30+ at one long table, and the opportunities that our Bed & Breakfast has offered us. We are thankful for our guests – especially those who return again and again, and become part of our family.

We are thankful.

Handsome helpers, chopping onions, celery, and peeling apples, potatoes and squash.

Evan helped me set the table and Sarah & Olivia colored and made place cards for everyone with Ginna’s help.

Michael, Erin & Stephen chat before dinner

We were so happy to have nephew Pat & his fiancee Jackie home with us again this year after spending the last two Thanksgivings in Australia and China. They will be getting married in Greece in August.

Chatting with Jackie in the kitchen – she’s an expert gravy whisker!

D’Arcy’s dad, Rollie, our nephew Ryan, and my dad, Dave chatting together before dinner.

Olivia and her cousin (once removed) Seamus.

Hugs as Stephen & Kathy arrive.

It’s so much fun to watch the older cousins interacting with the younger cousins. I’m not sure who has more fun…

Erin & Dave enjoy the sunshine on the front stoop.

More love from Olivia to Seamus.

Two of D’Arcy’s favourite women! 😉

Grandpa, Neil & Olivia

Neil & Auntie K

D’Arcy and I did not plan our attire… This is what happens after 15 years of marriage?

Family

Olivia and some of the food bank donations

You’re so welcome!

The following thank-you to Canada, written by NBC’s Brian Williams at the end of his Olympic stay, has been circulating on the Internet and I love it so much I wanted to copy it here.  (To view the original, please click here.)

And while we’re at it, we  Canadians want to thank YOU for staying with us and sharing our stories & people with your viewers!

After tonight’s broadcast and after looting our hotel mini-bars, we’re going to try to brave theblizzard and fly east to home and hearth, and to do laundry well into next week.  Before we leave this thoroughly polite country, the polite thing to do is leave behind a thank-you note.

Thank you, Canada:

For being such good hosts.

For your unfailing courtesy.

For your (mostly) beautiful weather.

For scheduling no more than 60 percent of your float plane departures at the exact moment when I was trying to say something on television.

For not seeming to mind the occasional (or constant) good-natured mimicry of your accents.

For your unique TV commercials — for companies like Tim Hortons — which made us laugh and cry.

For securing this massive event without choking security, and without publicly displaying a single automatic weapon.

For having the best garment design and logo-wear of the games — you’ve made wearing your name a cool thing to do.

For the sportsmanship we saw most of your athletes display.

For not honking your horns. I didn’t hear one car horn in 15 days — which also means none of my fellow New Yorkers rented cars while visiting.

For making us aware of how many of you have been watching NBC all these years.

For having the good taste to have an anchorman named Brian Williams on your CTV network, who turns out to be such a nice guy.

For the body scans at the airport which make pat-downs and cavity searches unnecessary.

For designing those really cool LED Olympic rings in the harbor, which turned to gold when your athletes won one.

For always saying nice things about the United States…when you know we’re listening.

For sharing Joannie Rochette with us.

For reminding some of us we used to be a more civil society.

Mostly, for welcoming the world with such ease and making lasting friends with all of us.

So much to be Thankful for!

This past weekend was Thanksgiving here in Nova Scotia, and were fortunate enough to be able to host 35 (including us) of the McDonahs, representing four generations, for Dinner!  We closed out the B&B for the night so that we could get everything ready.  It was a pretty special sight to see that many of us sitting at one table.  We went around the table, one-by-one, revealing what we were thankful for.  Although the sentiments varied, I know we were all thankful to be part of such a large, fun & loving family!

Preparing to make the dressing...

Preparing to make the dressing...

A photo while setting the table

A photo while setting the table

"Turporken" - a de-boned turkey, stuffed with a pork roast, stuffed with a de-boned chicken which has been stuffed!  This one turporken would serve 25 people. We also barbecued an 8lb pork roast.

"Turporken" - a de-boned turkey, stuffed with a pork roast, stuffed with a de-boned chicken which has been stuffed! This one turporken would serve 25 people. We also barbecued an 8lb pork roast.

Some family, chatting before Dinner

Some family, chatting before Dinner

The only photo of the day with both D'Arcy & I...

The only photo of the day with both D'Arcy & I...

Everyone finding their seats...

Everyone finding their seats...

D'Arcy's sister, Kathleen, started off the "What I'm Thankful For" Circle

D'Arcy's sister, Kathleen, started off the "What I'm Thankful For" Circle

Sarah, presenting her grandfather with an "ear" of corn she'd grown just for him - it was about 5 cm long!

Sarah, presenting her grandfather with an "ear" of corn she'd grown just for him - it was about 5 cm long!

Dinner Time!

Dinner Time!

"Great" Auntie Anne with the youngest family member, Phinn

"Great" Auntie Anne with the youngest family member, Phinn

What a wonderful day we had – we are truly blessed!