Sunday, October 13, 2013

And Then There Is Fred

Saturday (October 12) was the family's celebration of Canadian Thanksgiving. I am always asked what's the difference between Canadian and US Thanksgiving. The food is the same and the reason for celebrating is basically the same as well. The differences lie in two distinct areas.

1. Canadian Thanksgiving is in October. We originally celebrated it here in 1999 when I surprised Dave with a visit from his daughter, husband and their infant son, Cole (from Canada as is Dave originally). It was such a hit with everyone including my side of the family that we now have as many of them as can make it in October; leaving everyone free to visit other family sides in November.

2. Canadians however need lessons in making long weekends. US Thanksgiving is on a Thursday and most people (except retail of course) have off for four days. Canadian Thanksgiving is on a Monday (it's actually tomorrow). I don't get it.

CanThan 2013 was celebrated by the return of "Hats" otherwise known as "Four on a couch". We haven't played it at CanThan for several years. However, given Uncle Dave's supply of baseball hats we do have a good setup for it.

The rules: Each player dons a hat or does not don a hat. You sit around the room alternating hat wearer, no hat wearer, hat wearer, no hat wearer. Get the idea? If you don't you will likely get picked last to be on someone's team. (Fortunately we don't use playground rules so you're good).

By the way, there is one more chair/seat than people in the room. That's n+1 seats with n being the number of people in the room. If you didn't get alternating hats don't bother trying to get that one. Just stick with me I'll get you through.

Next, the names of everyone in the room are written on separate pieces of paper and placed in a... well this year it was the salad bowl. ( Yes, the salad was gone and the bowl cleaned. ) Each player then picks a name from the hat. You may get your own name or someone else's. We used to play you couldn't get your own name but then it took way too long to even get started.

The person sitting to the left of the empty chair/seat goes first and calls from someone to sit in it. If I went first for example I might say "I want Dave to come sit next to me". The person who has Dave's name on their paper comes and sits next to me. It might be Dave or it more likely (and for more fun) will be someone else. Now you have to remember who is "Dave". The person to the left of the now vacated seat calls another person. And so on.

The object is to move people around the room to negotiate four members of your own team (hat or no hat) onto the couch.

Now if it weren't difficult enough to remember who is who when they aren't who they 'appear' to be we have to deal with knowing and remembering which names were put in the hat and who calls who by what name. An easy example is that my dad's name in Paul. But in the hat he is "Gumpop" because that's what the majority of the people in the room call him. But there were at least three people in the room who would call him Dad and one who would call him Paul - outside of hats of course. And then there is Fred. Fred's birth name is Erin Claire and - as I learned just this weekend - may also be known as squeegee. Now of course all of this is easy to figure out if you are part of the family or part of our 'extended friends of family'** plan and have attended at least one game of hats before.

This year we had a newbie. Meet Sara, part of the friends of family plan by way of Fred.

Newbies get a cheat sheet. This lets her know which names are in the game since most of us she had just met that morning. Sara gets big high fives though. She played sportingly well for a newbie and was - in my humble opinion - a key player in at least two of the no-hat team's three wins.

Here are the requisite (although forgotten of late) group photos.
Kids (it's all relative...
well except for friends of family plan members
but you know what I mean)

** The friends of family plan is easy to join. No fees, no secret handshakes. You just have to know one of us and get yourself invited. On that note, I will leave with a story that I meant to but neglected to share with the family yesterday. When sending an email confirmation to everyone about Thanksgiving advising of the totals and who was bringing what, I mis-entered Jimmy's gmail address and it went to a different J Pollum. I received a very nice reply from a Ms. Pollum who lives on the west coast informing me that my message did not reach the intended recipient. I thanked her and let her know she was welcome to join us if it weren't for the distance. Maybe next year :) 


  1. Love the instructions - however, I still say that with all the MANY baseball hats that Dear Dave owns, surely you could have avoided having anyone wear the Atlanta Braves hat - just sayin'! Glad you all had fun. Hoping to be there next year...

  2. Great post... which for some reason did not show up in my dashboard.... o.O... you did beat me, however. Oh, well. Sometime I WILL be first. :D Great explanation of the game! I was so glad we did that. It was tons of fun-- and Sara was a great sport. :D You did in fact tell the story of the Jeanne Pollum in Seattle (in my hearing, at least) and it was hilarious-- who knows, maybe she'll take you up on it sometime. :D

  3. This year was a lot of fun! That story about the other J Pollum was so funny! :P