Friday, November 20, 2015

A Thanksgiving Remembrance

By Maxcyne Mott Yaworsky

     Every year, as Thanksgiving approaches, and I am happily preparing for the celebration that I will share with my children and grandchildren, the memory returns to me of the first Thanksgiving that I celebrated in Canada as a young bride. Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving the first Monday of October, and it was the first year of my marriage to Ray.

     We arrived early at Ray's parents' home in Windsor Ontario, for the dinner that was to be served at two o'clock. We whiled away the time, sitting on the sofa in the living room, perusing some family photo albums.The doorbell rang. Tato  (Ukrainian word for father) appeared, neatly dressed in white dress shirt, dress trousers, a customary bow tie at his throat, to answer the door.  His voice rose in cheerful greetings and he reappeared in the far end of the living room, escorting a smallish, darkly dressed and slightly bent figure of a man who immedately settled himself in a straight backed chair in the far corner.  There being no other seating close by, Tato  remained standing, and began to slowly pace back and forth, his hands clasped behind his back, all the while maintaining a steady conversation, The man seated in the chair made no audible responses, and I realized with some amusement, that my father- in- law was answering his own questions of polite inquiry. After several stretches  of silence, Tato  stepped to the entrance of the dining room and I heard him call " Kazha, Kazha, proshue wodka!" He resumed his pacing and one- sided conversation.

The Elder Yaworskys
     Moments later my mother- in- law appeared, her five foot, two hundred pound body drawn up in its most regal bearing. She presented two small glasses of vodka  upon a silver tray to her husband and their guest..There ensued slight bows among the three as the gentlemen quaffed their drinks of vodka and  Mama murmured soft words of greetings in Ukrainian. Our mystery guest then reached into the pocket of his coat and withdrew an object which he presented to Mama. I watched in wonder as she raised it to the light above, turned it this way and that, examining it as if she were examining each facet of a precious jewel. She "cooed" small exclamations of surprise and appreciation. The gift that she held in her hand was a pear!  A single perfect golden ripe pear! I sat in mute curiosity, absorbing the unusual scene before me. Soon the quiet dark figure departed as suddenly as he had appeared, Mama  returned to her kitchen, and Tato resumed his pacing.

     Ray's three sisters, dressed in Sunday best, descended the stairs from above, noisily chattering among themselves.  Brother Walter arrived to complete our gathering.  We entered the dining room to be greeted by the sight of an overburdened table, covered with platters of turkey, pyrohy (potato filled dumplings), holubtsi (stuffed cabbage rolls), homemade bread, pickles, beets, an endless array of Mama's special offerings. A feast fit for a king!  With prayers of Thanksgiving having been said, blessings bestowed upon the meal performed, I raised my head to survey the bounty before me.  There among the dishes filled to overflowing, my eyes lit upon a small silver tray, upon which sat a single, ripe, golden pear!

     Surrounded by the cheerful voices of my new family, a silence filled my heart as I realized how precious was the moment I had witnessed the gift so humbly given, so  graciously received.

I received the greatest gift. A never to be forgotten Thanksgiving.


May your Thanksgiving be one to remember May the coming holidays be filled with great blessings.

Beautiful!  Thanks Maxcyne!  -Ed