Monday, 20 June 2011

The Scrapbook

The scrapbook sits on the oval wooden coffee table serving as a fixture of the living room.  As thick as the New York City phone book, its pages have been turned on a daily basis by its owner.  Gracing its cover is a large golden number 50 inside a circle. 

No one who enters the living room is allowed to leave without "taking a tour" of the scrapbook.  When the owner opens it up, the guest is treated to a walk down memory lane.  Each page is covered with photographs, often black and white, sometimes in colour.  Beside the pictures are creme-coloured sheets, each with a memory or a good will message for the owner of the scrapbook.  Many pages had wedding photos of a couple.  The groom is sharply dressed in a black suit, with a beaming smile on his face.  The bride, wearing a full length white wedding gown and a lace veil, looks more demure as she holds a bouquet of flowers.  Interspersed with the black and white wedding pictures are photographs of the groom drawing geometric shapes on the blackboard, his son in his cub uniform, his daughter at her 21st birthday party, a family picnic at a cottage, a family visit to Wimblewood Beach in the summer, the couple singing in the church choir, their grandchildren visiting at Christmas, a visit to the family farm, and their 40th wedding anniversary celebration. 

Handwritten messages are glued to the scrapbook's pages including one about the couple's first dinner party.  The bride decides to bake two pies, one apple and one cherry.  As the guests wait for their dessert, the groom steps into the kitchen to see what is taking the bride so long to prepare.  The bride is in tears:  all of the guests want cherry -- what is she to do?  The groom calms her down with his slow, steady voice and suggests a solution.  The newlyweds return to their guests in the dining room and all is well once more. 

The highlight of the scrapbook is the most recent photo showing the bride and groom at a huge affair.  They dress up as if they are going to a wedding.  They are greeted at the door by their son who takes them in a Model A, the 100th one built in Canada, to Kimbourne Park United Church.  At the church, the couple is greeted by their family and friends.  Along with at least 50 guests they eat a meal, catered by the U.C.W., in the church basement.  As the guests enjoy dessert, they are treated to an evening of speeches interspersed with jokes and tidbits by the Master of Ceremonies.  An anniversary cake marked "Happy 50th Anniversary!" is brought out, carved up and eaten.  The couple opens some gifts from guests, the most memorable of which is given to them by their daughter:  it's the scrapbook.  It is the perfect ending to the perfect day.

The couple brings the scrapbook home and lays it on the oval wooden coffee table where it sits ready to be read; many hands turn its pages.  With the passage of time, the bride adds more photographs to its pages until its bursting at the seams.  Every guest that enters 47 Lankin Boulevard must sit on the gold chesterfield beside the owner of the scrapbook and examine its contents from beginning to end.  The scrapbook never gets a chance to collect dust due to its frequent handling. 

Today, I add a new chapter to the scrapbook:  more family picnics, their 60th wedding anniversary, the wedding of a grandson, the birth of twelve great-grandchildren, and the 50th anniversary of the couple's son and daughter-in-law.  If I were to make a scrapbook today it would have the number 80 on the cover.  Their marriage was one for the record books.  Happy Anniversary, Grandma & Grandad Tufts!

Grandma & Grandad being congratulated by the mayor. 
Photo courtesy Norm Tufts.

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