Sisters

 It is a magnificent thing to be part of a sisterhood.  I have two sisters, and one brother.  I live on the opposite side of the country, and I am not often in their neighbourhood, nor they in mine.   Memories float past me, all those holiday dinners, like a movie reel, the nuances of their strengths, and complex personalities come forth, and for a brief time in my day, I am with them once again.

It is waiting at the window, pulling back that white cafe curtain just a bit more, was that a car, are they here yet?  And the first car spilling out it's occupants, sisters and family, platters of foil covered dishes, corning ware, tupperware, bags of rolls, salads, wine yes I would love a glass, packs of beer, slip those down to the basement would you, pies, always pies, cakes, bars, pots of potatoes.  Busyness in the kitchen while others arrive, voices, voices, long table cheerfully set, we've 18 this year, imagine, lucky for the second table as well.  Not much time to socialize before dinner, younger days younger children, always a child at a sister's skirt, looking up, wanting a snack a drink let me in let me out.  Snowsuits on, snowsuits off, will uncle rich toboggan as well? And then the food is on the table, hurry now, eat while it's hot and sisters resemble a game of whack-a-mole, one is sitting down but another is up and out to clear a dish, refill a plate, check on the mug of water in the microwave, are you ready for that now Dad, pour a glass of wine, clear the passthrough of turnip casserole, hand through that carrot cake, who wants apple, and who wants lemon? One sister washing, one sister drying, let's get these done so presents can be next.  Sisters talk as the dishes are done, it's an interwoven dance, an invisible folk weaving of habits and patterns ingrained from a hundred years of dinners like this one, it was Evelyn and Rita and Bernadette before us, and it is Marie and Carolyn and Nancy and Mary Ellen and Kate and Jenny and Elaine and the girlfriends and new wives of the boys, and Naomi and Kyra, and Sammy and Gabby.  Sisters, my beginning and my end.