“We’re having company” This statement was usually issued at a family dinner – either one of the birthdays in March or April, or perhaps at Easter. It was the first indication every year that an aunt or uncle was coming to visit during the summer and this may or may not include their children as well. With my mum and her sisters being part of a very large sibling group (20 living children), we generally had family come for a holiday every year. Sometimes more than one sibling would come at a time or they would sort of book end one another.
This meant lots of time spent together. Welcome gatherings, dinners, lunches, tea, drop ins. It was fairly standard. My aunt up the street was usually where any company that came stayed while they were in Canada. Her door and our door were always open and often revolving with people in and out to spend time with whoever was over.
And the sightseeing day trips were also fairly standard – Niagara Falls, Dundurn Castle, Wonderland, St Jacobs or the Bell Homestead. But most days were just time spent together to enjoy each other, get caught up, reminisce and have a few laughs. It was at these get-togethers that we heard the family stories. Again and again and again.