In Memory

On Saturday my uncle passed away. Today would have been his 55th birthday.

This weekend reminded me of just how many great memories I have with him and his family. As tribute, here are a few:

At dinner Uncle Joe always made jokes (he made jokes all times of the day, but the ones I remember best were at the dinner table). Handing me the mustard, he’d ask he if I wanted “mouse turds” on my hot dog. Later he’d ask someone to “pass the Parkay.” While his kids heard his dad jokes every day, I giggled my way through dinners at their house.

While I was not the youngest cousin, I was usually the smallest and apparently ate less than the rest, too. Uncle Joe always said I ate “like a bird” in comparison.

And even though I was the smallest and usually everyone had to be at least a little careful not to totally squish me, life at their house helped teach me how to hold my own:

  • Like during the winters when we would hook a sled up to the back of the 3-wheeler and we’d hold on for dear life while everyone else tried to push you off the sled.
  • Or when we were ice fishing, whoever got to the tip up first got to reel in the fish – so you’d better run fast.
  • Or the time when I accidently ran the 4-wheeler into the trailer.

But he always had your back. Because family comes first.

  • Like the time he took me home in the middle of the night in the big green work truck (the one with the steel pipes as bumpers) because I got nervous at a sleepover.
  • Or how even though I’m sure they probably didn’t have a lot back then, there was always enough food for one more person at their dinner table.
  • Or the time I forgot my coat for ice fishing and wore Uncle Joe’s. And of course, there was candy in the pocket.

Uncle Joe was the first person I knew who raised animals for food. Because of those pigs I still think most store-bought bacon is weird. It was a great lesson about where food really comes from and that it’s totally ok to name your food 😉

He was also the first person I knew who shot fireworks off in his backyard. It made for some exciting summer nights.

Or how all winter long he’d have that old black cast iron wood stove filled to the brim – because he didn’t like it any less than 80 or so degrees in his living room. If you weren’t wearing shorts, it was probably too cold in his house for him.

Or at my wedding, when our officiant suggested we look out at all of our loved ones who came to support us so we could remember how much love we have backing us, Uncle Joe was in the back waving as I looked out. Of course I waved back. Everyone else just thought I was waving to be silly. It’s actually one of my most cherished memories from that day.

And now that I have a daughter of my own – who won’t be the youngest of the next generation, but as a preemie, may still be one of the smallest like I was – I hope I can instill in her the same rough and tough, hardworking, kind and caring, family-first VanNuck values that Uncle Joe helped instill in me.

The Canadian’s Knife. Episode 3

Mr. Canada and I have taken the “middle-aged” plunge and started doing weekly date night. We tested it out for a couple of weeks, but it seemed like the pretty standard, go-out-to-eat (at the same 3 restaurants like always), talk-about-your-day-at-work boring, grown-up kind of date night. And while there isn’t anything wrong with the standard dinner-and-movie date night, that just isn’t us.

Enter: The Canadian’s Knife

We’ve decided it would be way more fun to use date night as a way to try all of the restaurants, breweries, and activities we have wanted to try in our area. I decided we should document.

On this episode of the Canadian’s Wife we ate at Gatsby’s Seafood and Steakhouse.

Mr. Canada and his “I’m a fancy mob boss” face.

Gatsby’s is a really fun roaring 20’s themed restaurant, complete with classic memorabilia all over the walls. Apparently they even do vegan specials on Wednesdays. Although we didn’t go on a Wednesday, we did see that they have a vegan menu you can order from on any day.

All-you-can-eat cod was the special of the day. Mr. Canada and I both had that. He chose regular fries and I chose sweet potato fries. Our meal also came with coleslaw as the appetizer. Honestly, I usually think coleslaw is weird, but this coleslaw was GREAT.

Plus, our waitress made a bomb dot com long island. Just sayin’.

Mr. Canada and I give this episode of The Canadian’s Knife three and a half maple syrups out of five

The Canadian’s Knife. Episode 2

Mr. Canada and I have finally taken the “middle-aged” plunge and started doing weekly date night. We tested it out for a couple of weeks leading up to the Christmas holidays. Seemed like the pretty standard, go-out-to-eat (at the same 3 restaurants like always), talk-about-your-day-at-work boring, grown-up kind of date night. And while there isn’t anything wrong with the standard dinner-and-movie date night, that just isn’t us.

Enter: The Canadian’s Knife

We’ve decided it would be way more fun to take the opportunity to use date night as a way to try all of the restaurants, breweries, and activities we have wanted to try. I decided we should document.

On this episode of the Canadian’s Wife we stopped in at Fuzzy’s for dinner.

Fuzzy’s is this small, hole-in-the-wall diner planted between a doctor’s office and… who knows what. It has furniture you’d expect to see at a diner along with an ice cream parlor built right in on the side. What’s better – there are SO MANY different ice cream choices. It’s a family owned business that dates back a while. The original owner had several business in the area. The little diner stuck through it all and lives on with some tasty, home-cooked meals.

In fact, Mr. Canada and I both had the chicken and dumpling soup. It was definitely not from a can. Neither was the very fluffy foldover bread our sandwiches came on. And of course, they had Johnny’s famous rice pudding – recipe straight from the original owner – so Mr. Canada ate a bowl of that for dessert. He basically went straight from 32 years old to 87 right before my eyes. He was so pleased with himself.

After dinner, we headed home had a good, old fashioned game night at the kitchen table.

This is not the first time either of us had been to Fuzzy’s, but it had been a long time. They certainly did not disappoint, either way. Mr. Canada and I give this episode of The Canadian’s Knife four maple syrups out of five.