We threw two parties during our stay in Ottawa, and as I’ve given up on a chronological account of our doings in the Great North Strong and Free, I’ve decided to show you a virtual good time, and introduce you to more fam and friends.
Daddy had a Bon Voyage party in the works when we arrived: our old and dear friend Betty was doing the Generous Grandmother thing and taking her granddaughter Alison MacKay to London for a week. I’ve known Betty since I was three years old and grew up with her daughters Catherine and Elizabeth. (Catherine and her husband Ian are Alison’s parents.) Elizabeth is married to Michael, and they decided to tag along, to spend time with Michael’s mother, who lives there, and do a swing of the northern cathedral towns, heavy on York. Alison was a no-show because she had a science project to finish up.
Daddy was doing some minor fussing about a decorating theme, and whack job that I am I said “Oh boy! Have I got an idea! I’ll make garlands of tiny paper airplanes!” Any opportunity to fold paper, right? So I spent a day and a half making 86 planes from foil wrapping paper then — and this is the tedious bit — sewing them individually to form garlands. They looked pretty if I do say so myself. In the entrance to the dining room:
On a wooden statue we call Gian Carlo: He’s almost five feet tall and used to stand on a stairway in Harrods.
Now let me make the introductions. Here’s Betty, the guest of honor, being pinned with a corsage:
Lou, Elizabeth and Michael:
Cathy and Ian:
Daddy bought five fabulous ribs of beef for the occasion, and told Lou: “You have only one job today: cook that roast perfectly.” No pressure, huh? He did, of course:
The second affaire was Thanksgiving dinner — for non-Canadians, Thanksgiving in the Land of Ice and Snow is held in early October. The leaves are nearing the coloric peak, and it’s great to get a couple of months between the Turkey Holidays instead of just one, as we do here. My brother Ian, his ever-bubbly wife Hilary and their son Miles drove up from Montreal. The food is familiar to every American, and as I love it all, it was no labor to stuff the bird and cook up the cranberries. (Ed. note: Yes, half the men mentioned in this post are named Ian.)
The Junior McArthurs:
Ian, whose appearance and mannerisms more and more resemble Bruce Willis’s, owns a catering company with Hilary. Miles , my only nephew (or niece) on the McArthur side is one of my fave peeps in the whole wide world. He’s in his first year at nursing school.
My sister Julia is a fun-lover and a party animal. She’s eternal sunshine in a world of many low pressure systems.
Two pretty birds in one shot! Hilary’s hazelnut torte was divine.
With so many willing hands around, the cooking and cleaning up for both parties was a snap. The noise level could get pretty high, but I bet you wouldn’t have cared. I wish you all could have attended both nights.