The Hodge house was joyfully blessed with the presence of Maximus this Thanksgiving weekend and believe me it was active.
Precisely the perfect medicine a doctor might order for someone feeling old, depressed, sorry for themselves, or ready to give up – haul in a rambunctious six-year-old grandson for therapy.
Instant mental assistance guaranteed! Especially if the six-year-old comes with lessons.
For several summer months, Tez spent the better part of her weekend digging or planting our garden and it appeared we were set for a tremendous fall crop success.
Beets, carrots, cucumbers, green peppers, potatoes, melons corn…all showing great promise.
But Mother Nature turned into the nasty nag she can be – her natural cohorts of fires, hot days and nights, smoky skies, solid rain for a week, then wind, more fires.
Suddenly, things were not on track.
So for several more weeks Tez busted her butt in the garden, finished up fall planting, and harvested the summer crops.
She did all her job and 90 per cent of mine as well. I’m astounded with the effort and energy she has.
Lack of lungs and smoky skies kept me indoors, but the guilt factor snowballed me into mega-depression.
The final part of the yard work was mine and I was still failing.
Tez and I have recently had a very harsh couple of weeks on the home front and Thanksgiving did not look like much I was going to be thankful about, so naturally we were thrilled to hear that Tez’s son Arthur from Vancouver was bringing our grandson Max to us for Thanksgiving.
Yard be dammed. I was hoping for some yard help from Arthur or at least have him help Tez with the turkey.
That gave me the easy job of hanging out with Max.
The mere fact we were getting to see Max is truly a miracle.
At age six, he is now going through his second year of chemotherapy.
Surgeons removed 90 per cent of the brain tumour. No one expected the little guy to make it through such a daunting operation.
If Max did survive the lengthy surgery, doctors were leery about the impact on his brain.
Believe me, there is not a problem or at least not at this point some two years later.
He has minor speaking issues but retains and returns verbal information very well.
I have also witfully observed that Max laughs, giggles non-stop, and is totally spoiled by his dad.
The trip’s timing was perfect.
Tez said she wanted to cook this year’s bird and I would prepare the stuffing.
Thanksgiving morning, I made my morning disaster of the kitchen while preparing the stuffing.
Scrambling though our herb and vegetable patch provided most of the ingredients needed – rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley, carrots.
Adding breadcrumbs, fresh chopped cranberries, pork, lemon zest finished the list. Then I ran away.
When Tez stepped in to make a scrumptious dinner, Arthur decided to hang out in the kitchen with Mom.
The talented young man (we need him back in town) later cut the bird up and did a good job of it.
Max and I were kicked downstairs.
Best part of my day.
For a couple hours I helped Max play his new hockey table game.
We also talked a lot with Max asking me typical numerous ‘six-going-on-seven’ questions.
“I am okay that I have a big scar you know,” he said showing a huge ring of stitches the size of a giant question mark.
“The nurses like it, they say it is special just like I am,” he giggled.
As we had a joyful time together, I noticed my lungs hurt a little less, and my chuckles returned.
Suffice to say that our actual Thanksgiving dinner at the Hodge house was the same as at many others.
Family swarmed the food trays and then we gathered at the main table, said dinner blessings and dug in.
Max joined dad, grandma and grandpa just long enough to have earned his freedom from the table to play his hockey game.
The adults fell onto couches hoping their stuffed bodies would forgive them soon.
Well, a day has passed, and the kids are gone. I am writing this column on Tuesday and as I write this the best part of Thanksgiving weekend is happening.
I hear a chopping board getting a harsh beating, which can only mean one of two things – turkey soup, or a back-up apple pie.
One can never have enough ‘back-up’ apple pies.
Charlie Hodge is a Kelowna city councillor and long-time Kelowna resident