Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Canada Day Party That Almost Wasn’t

Canada Eh Red Tshirt

For the past two years, we’ve been going to friends of ours for their Canada Day celebration (Chuck’s birthday–the host is on the 3rd). It’s a four day extravaganza but the Sunday is reserved for a massive potluck with around 75 people, a campfire, live band, swimming, fireworks and lots of beverages.

This year, things got a little mixed up. I misread their flyer (yes, they mail out flyers). I thought that it said that the party was on the Sunday, like it has been for years. Nope, they changed it on us.

It’s not like they didn’t tell us. No, I’m not talking about the flyer but the fact that they also texted us on Thursday to confirm that “they would see us on Saturday” to which I replied “Okay”.

Then, Ed went to an auction in the morning, I went to Laz House to catch the tail-end of their 50% off warehouse sale, and Ed took Reina back to the vet (in Ogdensburg, NY) to get more medication for that pesky little problem she’s been having. By the time he got home, it was 4pm. No problem, we’ll just call our friends and let them know that we can’t come and that we’ll be there tomorrow instead for the usual shindig.

I called. They broke the news to me gently.

The time was 4:13pm.

The race began. I started throwing clothes in a pile; hats, shoes, suntan lotion, swimming gear (I never managed to find their bathing suits and/or swimming diapers), prepared the meat, went into the garden, picked lettuce, spinach, vegetables and made a salad to feed an army, cooked hard boiled eggs, told the kids to get themselves ready (didn’t happen), got the dogs walked, had a clean-up in aisle four, amongst many other things.

At 5:09pm, we pulled into their house (a 12 minute drive).

Not a voice was raised in the process (I didn’t have the time or energy to yell) but I am not looking forward to doing that again. Ever.

As for the party.

The weather was perfect, hot but not humid with a strong breeze. Our neighbour has a smoker and once again, he smoked our pork tenderloins and corn-on-the-cob. Best meat I’ve ever tried (the best chicken was at Rene’s house on her “egg”).

Canada Day Artemis Canada Day Maximilian Canada Day Artemis and Maximilian Sitting on Winnie The Pooh Chairs
There were reprobates kids of all ages there and most of them were willing to play with the kids. We brought tons of toys including a package of mini bubbles (used at weddings) that all the kids enjoyed.

I didn’t have time to take very many pictures (I’m just happy that I remembered to bring the camera) and the ones I did take weren’t so great.

At dusk, the one-man band, Gilles Arsenault arrived. Gilles was a repeat entertainer (he played last year as well) and I know why. Gilles is a super friendly and kind chap. I got a chance to chat with him while he was setting up because Artemis wanted to notify him that the “moon was up in the sky” (which it was) and Max wanted him to know that “he too has a guitar”. Gilles was really great with them encouraging them to talk into the microphone (they wanted nothing of it) and playing the harmonica just for them (Max just got one and loves it).

Canada Day Gilles Arsenault Playing Guitar
Then the magic started.

Gilles, an Acadian, originally from PEI plays a mixture of East Coast, Country, Rock and Folk. He always asks his customers for any special requests (beforehand) and shows up prepared. He entertained us with groups such as; The Tragically Hip, David Wilcox and Neil Young (Hello Canadians!) as well as Bruce Springsteen and Steve Earle. He played a lot more but I was busy looking after the kids and can’t listen at the same time. Here is a video I took of the kids rocking out. They know a great sound when they hear one.

When Gilles isn’t working his other full-time job, he has a regular gig at “The Clocktower” in The Glebe and his business card says that he can be reached at;

Looking for really personal entertainment? Live within one hour of the Ottawa area (or farther, he talks fondly of Kingston)? Book wtih Gilles, he’s your man!

The night ended with a big bonfire and fireworks to impress the International Des Feux Loto Quebec.

Even Alexander got dressed for the festivities.

Alexander Celebrating Canada Dah=y
Last but not least, Marcella arrived safe and sound in Ottawa yesterday (we haven’t seen her since she left for Madrid in September). We’re all scheduled to go out on Monday (Christina and family as well) to Boston Pizza courtesy of Ranting Ginger. I’ll save that for another post.

12 thoughts on “The Canada Day Party That Almost Wasn’t

  1. Bonnie Way

    Sounds like an awesome party! Someday I should organize a Canada Day party… last year we took in festivities here in town (which were fun) but this year we haven’t done much. 🙂

  2. Kathleen (aka Callista)

    Wow what a day! We had a big BBQ thing yesterday too but we didn’t end up staying for the fire and fireworks. I can’t imagine 75 people, that’s WAY too many for me, I like small groups! Happy Canada Day!

  3. Elizabeth Matthiesen

    I really enjoyed reading this and am glad you made it to the party even if it was a rush. I only remember one time when it was really chaotic for me. Grandparents were there and hubby was getting a promotion with ceremony and all. He’d had to go ahead and I piled everyone into the van and headed off – only to discover when we got there that one of the children didn’t have any shoes on! Posh do and there’s a child without shoes, oh my! But like I said the other 6 had shoes on and I’d remembered Grandma & Grandpa too, hubby was not amused 🙂


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