August 31st, 2005

Family vignettes.

I visited Winnipeg this past weekend. My brothers and i all flew home for my father's 70th birthday, myself alone and them with their wives and youngsters. Finding myself part of a big family was a bit of shock to me — growing up, i was used to most family outings consisting just of Mom, Dad, and myself, since my brothers had moved away from home pretty early on and i had no aunts or uncles in the country. Suddenly this tiny nuclear family had turned into a ten-party table of chaos.

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Texas Hold 'Em has become my nephew Daniel's favourite game. He's eleven and loves to ham it up. I think he gets that from his dad.

In the hotel room, we got out the poker chips and Alvin dealt two cards to each of us. Daniel took a glance at his cards and said "I'm all in," grinning broadly and pushing all his chips to the center of the table. "Let's see what you got, Pingy-boy."

When he finally showed his hand, he had nothing. I had a pair, so i won all his chips. He practically laughed himself off his chair.

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My niece Carolyn (who turned two in June) sat across from me at the table in her high chair, sipping her soymilk. She stopped and looked at me seriously. "Juwa," she said.

"What was that, Carolyn?" i asked.

"Joo wa," she repeated calmly, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

"Do you want some juice?"

Carolyn shook her head. "Joo. Wa. Joowa!" she repeated again.

"What is she saying?" i said to her mom Sandra.

"I don't know," said Sandra. She started looking around for clues.

"Joowa, joowa, joowa, joowa..." continued Carolyn.

"Oh," said Sandra. "Her shoe fell off."