There is an emanation from the heart

which cannot be described,

but is immediately felt and puts

the stranger at his ease.

~Washington Irving


Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough...

.........and more.

It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

~Melody Beattie


Don't be satisfied with stories,

how things have gone with others.

Unfold your own myth.
~Rumi


May my life be like a great

hospitable tree, and may

weary wanderers find in

me a rest.

~John Henry Jowett


Sunday, 19 June 2016

Father's Day Pancakes


For the past several years I've re-posted this on Father's Day, a little love-letter to my Dad. Each passing year since he died, I keep thinking that the pain of losing him might ease, might become easier to bear. But not really. It only deepens as you grow into your life, wishing he was still there. He was my North Star and my compass and there have been so many times I've felt lost without him. But then his voice is in my ear, saying what I need to hear or a memory pops into my mind, a shining North Star pointing the way.


The last photo of my dad, taken
with mom on 
And now today we've learned that my sweet Mom is preparing her way Home. The veil is thinning for her and she's spent the past week chatting happily with Dad in her little ranch-house kitchen--able to see him now, right there, where he's always been, never leaving her side. Her Mom she says, is perched on a tree branch outside her bedroom window. Even though it's difficult not to be there, she's surrounded by the two people in the world who love her most, who will take her small hands and lead her home with them, back home into pure Love.

Back when I was the 'baby' of the family.
If my dad was my North Star, then mom is my underpinning. The platform of my life made of quiet grace and strength; who is the model for my own mothering, my own homemaking. No Father's Day or Mother's Day will ever be the same without them, but I honour their memory and their meaning in the world by loving.

Loving, and loving, and then loving some more, because that's how we thin the veil between this world and the next. When I hold onto that thought, that way of being, they are as close to me as my own breath. The Love we share with one another in this world is our guide wire, our rope in a blizzard, that leads us from the love we came from, back into the pure love we return to. Our job in this life is to hold on tight.

***Original Father's Day Post***

Today in North America, Mexico, France, the Netherlands and the UK, it's Father's Day.  I couldn't help shedding a few tears this morning, as I flipped the pancakes at breakfast, since I was taught the art of pancake making by the master himself, my dad.

*Photo to the right: my dad and I, circa 1964, during his 1960's Mad Men/Author/Spy phase.  He wasn't smuggling me out of Eastern Europe, we were on a family vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains.


My Grandpa (2nd from the left) and great-uncles
at the Godin/Gordon Lumbercamp,
Ocqueoc Michigan, June 22, 1907
My grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great grandfather were all French Canadian 'lumberjacks', which is a North American word for hard-working men's men, who cut down trees--or in fairy tales called a woodcutter.  They also ate pancakes. A lot of pancakes.

North American pancakes evolved from French crepes into a much heartier breakfast version, that sustained the men as they cut down virgin timber using just axes and saws. Lumberjack pancakes were the size of dinner plates and the men ate them in stacks, covered in maple syrup.  That's how Dad grew up eating them in northern Michigan and that's how we ate them.

Dad's pancake making skills were showcased on our epic camping trips, when mom and dad would pack five kids and enough supplies to feed a small army into a station wagon, towing a camper, for 4 to 5 weeks at a time.  Even in the middle of the woods, with only a small camp stove, Dad would flip stack after stack of pancakes until the five of us were stuffed, and in a maple syrup fog.

Lake Champlain, Vermont
One pancake flipping/eating session that stands out was while we were camped overlooking Lake Champlain, in Vermont. There was a storm and a gale blowing off the lake and we were all huddled around the picnic table, under an awning that was trying hard to become airborne. Yet even in the wind and rain, Dad still managed to keep the camp stove burning and the pancake griddle hot. We feasted on pancakes that covered our plates and were smothered in Vermont maple syrup, played 'Authors', and waited for the storm to blow itself out.

Don't flip the pancake until the top is
 covered with air bubbles--and no
peaking underneath.
The secret of dad's pancakes started with a good griddle, perfectly seasoned and well-used, both in the kitchen and the woods.  Even though it was big and heavy, it got hauled on our camping trips, along with the rest of the supplies.  He made them from scratch or he used mixes like Aunt Jemima or Hungry Jack--it didn't really matter, since he made them all taste great.  

The one thing dad always told us, as he passed along his pancake skills, was to never beat the lumps out, because pancake batter should be lumpy just like any other quick bread batter.  The griddle is hot and ready when a few droplets of water bounce and sizzle off of it, and a pancake is ready to flip when bubbles cover the top of it.  There can't be any cheating though, peaking under the pancake to see if it's brown, it needs to raise and cook undisturbed to be fluffy.

Rev. Robert Gordon, Pastor Bob,
Uncle Bob and our Dad.
Dad has been gone nine years now, and Father's Day never gets any easier--we miss him every single day.  He had such a love for life and knew how to make anything a celebration--even a simple stack of pancakes in the middle of the Michigan north woods. We felt safe and were well-fed in the middle of a fierce Lake Champlain storm and our camping trips, that resembled a troop movement, never seemed a burden to him, only a joy. So thank you Dad for always having our backs, always making us feel safe, and teaching us that something as simple as a pancake shared with those you love is a cause for celebration.

"My father gave me the greatest gift 
anyone could ever give another person: 
He believed in me."  
 ~Jim Valvano

The tradition carries on at Holywell Bed and Breakfast,
but not quite lumberjack sized.

*You might wonder how the name Gordon can be French Canadian, but thanks to Ancestry.com I discovered that my Grandpa changed his name from Godin to Gordon when he moved from the lumber camp into town.  Imagine our surprise, thinking all the while we were Scottish Gordons and making pilgrimages to Scotland, finding out we are actually French Canadian.  It was a nice surprise though and I'm very proud of my heritage, which I've been able to trace all the way back to 16th century France, to Maurice Godin, born in 1530 at Givet, Namur, Pays Bas, France.

Thanks for stopping by and I always love to hear from readers in our comments~what does your dad mean to you?

12 comments:

  1. What a lovely tribute to your Dad, Dear Carrie! It brought tears to my eyes. I, too, lost my Dad 13 years ago and it is true that the pain doesn't ease it just grows deeper. Thinking of you and sending lots of love and prayers as your Mom makes her journey "home". {{{HUGS}}}

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    1. Thank you for the love and the hugs. When we hold hands, our losses are easier to bear. Love from Oxford, Carrie

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  2. How very fascinating and great tribute to your Dad. Mine, too, in heaven since 2010, was my anchor and greatest champion. "My father gave me the greatest gift
    anyone could ever give another person: He believed in me." Yes, mine, too!! And what a precious hertigage! Forever grateful! My Dad also inspired me with his faith in God; and I am forever grateful for his love, which has given me courage to trust God's love in the same way. Thank you so much for this Carrie. Jane xo

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    1. That was one of my dad's greatest gifts too, simply believing in me. Love xxxCarrieooo

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  3. Darling girl....what a beautiful tribute and sweet memories of your dad. I will forever leave lumps in my pancake batter now! Such a handsome man. I can tell that he was the love of your life as you were his. One day you will meet him again and maybe share the fluffier, most heavenly pancakes ever known to mankind. Blessings to you today and prayers for your mom. It is sweet that in these final days of hers she sees her mother watching over her. Tears here for that scene as I know it all too well now. Sending warmest of hugs little Lollipop sister. ����

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    1. Good to hear you'll leave the lovely lumps in your pancake batter--muffins too! :-) Thank you for the prayers and the blessings. With love from Oxford, Carrie

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  4. Carrie, what a beautiful post! It clear that you live a charmed and charming life filled with love, and that you have been blessed with extraordinary people to raise you. That is the best life has to offer anyone. It is so hard to be parted from those we love the most, and I agree that loving is the best thing you can do in their honor. Hugs and loves sweet, dear girl. <3

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    1. Thank you as always dear Gabi, for your kind thoughts. I know we aren't really 'parted' but the loss is real. Thanks for the love. xxxCarrieooo

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  5. Dear Carrie, such a beautiful tribute I will love to read over and again. Your Dad was like a Dad to me although I was doubly blessed he was my Pastor. God knew I desperately needed his guidance in my life. His words helped shape my faith and anchored me in stormy seas. Oh what I would give to hear just one sermon again! Yet, a wealth of memories and the promise of a joyful reunion one day will be ours forever. You will be in my thoughts and prayers as your sweet mama begins her journey home. Forever grateful for her love and kindness to me. Hugs across the miles,Carr. ♡

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    1. Yes!---to sit together and hear one more sermon and look at each other with tears in our eyes. Thank you as always for the prayers and blessings. Love you! xxxCarrieooo

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  6. Loved your tribute to your father and mother too! I read through tears. I can see you in him and I can see him in the way you think. What a gift of LOVE. It is so hard to deal with the loss of parents. I can feel your sadness, but also the joy. Which I think is the best one could hope for. Hugs Thanks for all the pancake tips too I'm going to try on Sunday:)

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  7. Aack I think I forgot to change my name on last comment If it's Tartan Lover, that's me;) I'm mad for plaid

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