Grandma Yook Hai Choy's 95th birthday, based on the Chinese lunar calendar,
was on August 25 on the Julian calendar this year. However, to accommodate
all her children, granchildren and great grandchildren's busy schedules,
the official family gathering was held on Saturday, July 31.
In the past, family members cooked and served a banquet at Soo's for
+100 guests. This year, to allow for all of us to spend as much time as
possible as a family, we booked a private dining room at Brandon's
Victoria Inn. Even the birthday cake, in the past baked by younger daughter
Sue-On, was ordered-out.
Older daughter, Sue Sem Gin and her two grandchildren, Brendan and Alana
Yao, arrived on July 22. She spent many hours visiting with her mother
while the two kids attended Mini-U at Brandon University, their mother's
alma mater. Sue Sem came loaded with Chinese treats that are not available
Granddaughter Ilym Yao arrived on July 27th. Her aunt Sue-On and Uncle
Bill Hillman picked her up at Winnipeg airport. She came bearing gifts:
Ilym's husband, Paul, was able to leave work on Friday. Another
of Grandma's granddaughters, Cindy Gray, picked Paul up and they
arrived in Brandon late Friday night. He also brought lots of goodies.
Grandson Ja-On Hillman, his friend Angela, Ja's son, Soulin, and granddaughter
China-Li Hillman were all home to help Grandma celebrate.
We were happy to have had cousins Marilyn Choy of Vancouver, Marion
and her two children from Winnipeg, and David and Margaret and their three
children join us in the celebrations.
Due to distance and work schedules, grandson Robin Hillman of Red Lake,
Ontario, granddaughter Anna and husband Clint McArthur of Canmore, Alberta
, and grandson-in-law Mark Gray of Winnipeg were unable to attend
Prior to the Victoria Inn party, the family received wonderful "room
and board" at son Ken and wife Rebecca's home. To complete the two weeks
of feasting, the family gathered at Bill and Sue-On's for a bison steak
BBQ, herb-crusted roast lamb and chocolate cappuccino mud pie.
Sue Sem and the family were flying out Tuesday after lunch. We all gathered
at Ken and Rebecca's for brunch. Rebecca and Sue-On had dueling waffle
It's always sad to see family leaving, but the thought of Ken and Rebecca's
famous BBQ's, and Sue-On's much requested pre-Xmas shortbread and desserts
will ensure the horde will be heading east again next summer!