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Rural Pickering, along Kingston Road to Lakeshore
a long trek
Grandpa Carr home from war
divorced my grandmother
Dad at six, forced to live with a step-mother; father he never knew.
We enter through the back kitchen
Grandpa, amateur boxer
red hair and freckles menacing
shakes his fists teasing “put up your dukes”
I cow behind dad.
Our visit once a year — Christmas —
not a celebration
something to endure
These aunts, uncles, cousins —
in champagne blonde curls and brocade suit
gives exquisite gifts
gold locket, plaid pleated skirt,
angora sweaters, blue baby doll pajamas,
all lace and frills
What little girl wouldn’t be thrilled?
The best part
Mom makes tea; Dad scrambled eggs
I drift to sleep happy.