My Dad has been on my mind more than usual lately. There was a family wedding a few weeks ago, and we all missed him and his two brothers who immigrated here to Canada from Belgium in the 1950s. They’ve all passed on now, and their absence never goes unremarked during family occasions. My cousins, brother and I remember them with funny stories (those three brothers were all quite the characters in their own right) and a few tears, and then get on with having a good time, knowing that Phil, George and Emiel are still with us. Besides, if they saw us acting maudlin they’d probably have something to say about that!
One of the ways I pay tribute to my Dad, Phil, is through enjoying some of his favourite foods. Quirky to the North American sensibility, I relish mayonnaise with french fries, pickled herring (fastest way to get my kids to clear the room and get me some peace!) and this treat, bread with chocolate. A simple lunch, and so, so good in a European way.
The last birthday gift I gave Dad, a bicycle racing enthusiast, nine years ago was this book about the Tour de France. It seems fitting to picture it with chocolate, since another of his major interests in life was to treat my children to a constant supply of chocolate and ice cream. In fact, Petje, as they call him, once brought so much chocolate back from a trip to Belgium that he broke the handle of his suitcase. How’s that for devotion? We love sharing these memories, like a warm hug.
Bread. Chocolate. Memories of Dad.