As a youngster growing up in the big city of Vancouver with my parents, three brothers and a sister, there was always plenty of food on the table. This was no small feat, however, as Dad was the sole provider for our family of seven. It seemed to us kids that Mom spent every summer and fall canning the vegetables from her garden and the fruit from our fruit trees. We didn't own a freezer back then, let alone a fridge.
Despite our financial hardship, though, every year during the holidays the best memories were made. Most of those grand memories take me back to December 25th, when Dad would announce to us after breakfast that he was going downtown to bring home guests for dinner. We never knew who, or how many would come. Usually it was 3 or 4 men. They were friends Dad had known from the club to which he belonged. We didn't know what kind of club it was and we didn't really care because they had some pretty neat people for club members. And since our family didn't own a vehicle, Dad would always bring them home in a taxi.
It was such an exciting time--peering out the window, anxiously awaiting the moment they bounded up the stairs. Every year since I can remember, Mom would prepare a feast - potatoes, vegetables, apple pies, tarts and goodies to share. She'd cook a 30 lb. turkey, which Dad had received from work. It was more than enough to feed 10 to 12 people.
Dad's friends kept us entertained with vivid stories and we all laughed at their funny jokes. Sometimes a harmonica got pulled from a suit pocket, and then there would be music galore. Our guests had a rapt audience, full tummies, and a family who adopted them unconditionally as their own. In the evening, while waiting for the taxi to take them back to their humble rooms in the inner city, we gave them each a small gift Mom had knit. It was usually a pair of socks or mitts. We were always sad to see them go - but we felt better knowing there was always next year!
Hopefully those special guests form "the club" remember, as I often do, the special memories of holidays long ago, when a family of meager means shared its harvest.
Submitted by Anonymous