Alison says she turned the big two-one in September and wanted some Canadianism. The Moo is quite a bit more advanced in years than two-one. Hopefully Alison doesn't find song being ficced too dated to understand. (The mink coat joke may be just a little too old, sigh.)




Sunday dinner with Ray and his family was both enjoyable and challenging for Fraser. It was his taste of the frantic life of a big family something he never had as a child - but he only had it for a few hours a week It was enough. Over the past year he had picked up the rhythm of the bickering, teasing and even shouting. He still didn't join in, that would be far, far too intimidating, but he now understood that the bickering wasn't really fighting, the teasing not really cruel and the shouting a standard mode of expression.


There was, at least, a recognisable sequence of events: Ray picked him up in the Riv and brought him to the house, the males and the children milled around the living room for about half an hour or so waiting for supper, Ma called them all into the dining room a tasty meal was consumed while never less than 3 voices were going at once, then Ray took him home.


This particular Sunday, however, he had a special surprise planned together with Ma Vecchio. For the time being, however, he just sat with Ray and Tony in the living room, waiting, when the two kids ran into the room.


"Lookit what we found!" The girl shouted. She brandished a magazine.


The boy was right at her elbow, "We found it in Mummy and Daddy's room! Look! It's got ladies in it!"


"Bare-naked ladies!" proclaimed the girl.


Tony blushed, and took the magazine from his daughter and hid it under a sofa cushion.


Ma called them for supper.


"Francesca made the turkey" she announced.


"I'm afraid its too dry . . . " Francesca began.


Fraser took a bit of the meat on his plate and announced, "No, Francesca, it is moist."


"Moist," agreed Ray.


Everyone else echoed the sentiment.


"So, is Aunt Rosa out of the hospital yet?" asked Maria.


"Oh dear, what happened to your aunt?" Fraser asked her.


"It was really tragic. She fell on the stairs outside her church and broke her hip."


"Tragic . . . hip . . . " Tony mumbled in agreement, around a mouthful of turkey.


Everyone agreed it was tragic about the hip.


"There's no stairs outside St. Michael's," Ray pointed out.


"It wasn't St. Michael's. Aunt Rosa goes to Our Lady of the Blessed Peace.


"Our Lady . . . Peace . . . " Tony put in, trying to show he was paying attention.


"So, Bro, did you get the lottery tickets?" Francesca changed the subject.


"Yeah, but I don't see why you want to bother. It's only a million this week." Ray answered.


"Hey, don't sneeze at a million bucks. You can buy a lot with a million bucks, " she turned her attention to Fraser, "What would you do with a million dollars, Fraszh?"


Thus addressed, Fraser swallowed the piece of potato in his mouth and answered with his usual sensible approach. "I'd invest it, of course, Francesca. Canada Savings Bonds yield a stable return."


"Oh pooh, that's no fun. If I had a million dollars, I'd buy a mink coat."


"No, no, no," the kids protested, "that's cruel. Get something else, Aunty!"


She smiled at them. "How about a pretty dress, then, instead?"


They all agreed a pretty dress was a good idea. "Green would look nice on you," said Fraser and Francesca was thrilled to hear him say it. If Fraser liked a green dress better than a mink coat, then that's what she would get.


"One thing for sure, " Ma Vecchio put in, "we wouldn't eat Kraft Dinner anymore."


Again the kids protested, since they liked Kraft Dinner. "All right, all right", Ma allowed, "Yes we would, we'd just eat more."


This satisfied the kids.


Fraser could hardly wait for dessert and coffee, when it would be time for his surprise. At last Maria and Francesca brought out the coffee pot and poured everyone a cup. Ray took one sip and his face lit up.


"This is great coffee! Ma, this isn't the usual. What is it?"


"Benito brought it. It comes from Canada."


Everyone declared this was the best coffee they ever had.


"Do you really think so?" Fraser asked. Well, if Americans like it, he thought to himself, then maybe instead of just CSB's he'd use some of his imaginary million to buy shares in Tim Horton's.

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