If you’ve read The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen and enjoyed the dysfunctional banter between family members, you’d have thoroughly enjoyed a visit to our family farm over Thanksgiving weekend.

We left New York last Thursday, Ontario-bound on our favorite mini airline, Porter. Settling into the plane, we found ourselves in the usual seats. Me and my three kids occupying all four seats across, with Rodney in the luxury seat behind.


In all fairness, he does end up with his share of work when we travel but I definitely got the short end of the stick on this leg. Fortunately the beverage cart came quickly, giving me some liquid stamina for the ride.


At long last, we arrived at the farm in Caledon, an hour north of Toronto. The sun was setting, and after a late dinner, we settled in for the night.

The next morning, my Dad got the tractor out of the barn to give the kids a tour of  the property. I’m not sure what my Dad was thinking when he set up the scarecrow over the vegetable patch (top right), but to me it bears an uncanny resemblance to Michael Myers from the Halloween movies.


Fortunately we found an arsenal of other field sculptures – the laboring peasants, the wood alpaca, and of course the Canadian icon of all Canadian icons – the full sized moose, and quickly realized that we were not on a horror movie set after all, but rather the set of a John Candy movie circa 1985.


Or perhaps it could have been the set of The Princess Bride, as this is likely where the scenes from The Forbidden Forest were filmed.


Except that instead of fearing Rodents Of Unusual Size, I became increasingly scared of being attacked by the family of coyotes that have made their den near the barn. Rodney claimed that they wouldn’t come near us – they’re not awake during the day, they’re afraid of humans, he told me. To which I questioned his sudden detailed knowledge of coyote habits, politely ignored him, and swiftly hustled my kids back to the house.

Back at home, my Dad surprised my kids with a treat: Halloween costumes from Walmart, which they proceeded to wear all weekend long. Including to bed of course, why would you not.


At one point, Lauren suggested a game of cards. She seems to have watched too many Charlie Sheen YouTube videos recently because our game of Uno was filled with cheating and questionable choices.


Emma dug up a retro pic of me and my Dad from nearly 40 years ago. If you’ve been reading recent Wordless Wednesday posts you’ll know that she has a fondness for a a good 70s stache.  I don’t have the heart to tell her that 70s staches are genetic and that she’ll be spending a small fortune over the course of her lifetime removing hers. Although I’m thankful for many things in my Italian heritage, this is not one of them.


Lastly, it was time for the main event. The table was set, the dinner was ready. That’s my 100-year old grandmother on the left, in one of her more energetic moments.


At other points in the day, she was slumped over, seemingly comfortable, but leading my sister to refer to her as “Weekend at Bernie’s”. Seriously, if I’m still drinking wine and chatting it up at 100 years old, someone had better give me a medal. Or one of those gigantic bowling trophies. 

And what could be better than Thanksgiving leftovers? Especially when it looks this good:


And I’m referring to the pie on the left. Pie-maker of the pie on the right, I know that you read this blog: that pie TASTED good. Just because it looks like it’s forcing itself aggressively onto the cute pie on the left doesn’t mean that it’s unworthy of love. I’m going out on a limb here, but that pie gave more to our weekend than the turkey itself. Even you wept your famous silent tears of laughter at the sheer ugliness of it all. Don’t worry that it wasn’t finished. Think of it this way – we were able to spend more time with it, marveling at it, bonding with it, making it our friend.

Lastly, it was time to go home. But the good times didn’t end the moment we left the farm. We had one more little treat in store…


I confess that I tried to silence Emma’s crying on the descent into New York with a drip feed of Sweet Riot chocolates, clearly not the best choice, but how could I have predicted this. Somehow she’d managed to drop a number of them into her crotch and make it look like she’d had the most magnificent in-flight diaper rupture. And it’s not like you can walk around the airport carrying a sign that says “It’s just chocolate!” But an event-filled weekend needs a fitting finale. So with that, I bid you a wonderful week. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

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