Eating the milkman’s horse

 It’s Thanksgiving Day in Canada. This holiday, more than any other, makes me think of and miss my mom. She was born in 1930 in Germany. The deprivations and horrors of Hitler’s regime and the Second World War filled her childhood and teenage years. For good and for ill, those experiences shaped my mother.

Although we were a poor family, my mother always managed to put on a lavish Thanksgiving dinner. Every inch of the table would be covered with dish after delicious dish of turkey, stuffing, vegetables, potatoes, sauces and gravies followed by at least three desserts.

My mother would sit beaming at the head of the table and survey everything that was on offer. And then she would say, “We have so much to be thankful for. During the war, we never had enough to eat. I remember serving my father horsemeat once. He didn’t ask where I had gotten the meat and I didn’t tell him. The milkman’s horse had died and I was there to get some.”

At that point in her story, she’d stop and stare off into the distance, remembering the serendipitous moment when she got a portion of a dead horse. And then she would resume, “Now look at all that we have. We have enough food. We have a roof over our heads. We are safe in our beds at night. We are so lucky.”

And we are.

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14 thoughts on “Eating the milkman’s horse

  1. My parents were also born in Germany and lived through the war. I too heard the stories of the Make-do-food”. I too know how lucky we are. 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving.

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  2. This really grabbed at my heart. I am so thankful for what I have, not just food and housing, but beautiful children who have beautiful friends.
    Thanks for making my day as well!

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  3. What a great story Audrey. It is a great time to feel thankful and it brought me back to a time where I was in a situation somewhat like your Mom and didn’t have a lot for my young girls and then a friend dropped over bags of gently used clothes for my girls. You would have thought they were just given a million dollars and yet at that time it was worth so much more to all of us. Those someones who gave those clothes are within The Pink Elephant Room :}

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    • I feel a little bit like we’re about to finish an Agatha Christie novel here, Brenda. Your comment just goes to show that we never know who we’re touching and what the impact will be. There’s a quote that goes something like this “People may not always remember what you do or say, but they will remember how you made them feel.”

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      • So true Audrey. Good quote, So even today I am thankful for the way you made me feel many years ago and just reading your Thanksgiving Day story brought those wonderful feelings back again :}

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  4. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is great blog. A great read. I will certainly be back.

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    • Hi, mbt sandals – thank you for your kind words and feedback. Agreed – pictures definitely enhance the blog posts! Looking forward to seeing you back in the blog pages soon.

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