A New Birthday Tradition Monday January 11, 2021

So yesterday would have been my dad’s 80th birthday. To celebrate his life, we decided to start a bit of a new tradition by ordering in Indian (in non-COVID years we plan on actually going to a restaurant and obviously not just ordering in).

See when I was a kid, whenever my dad would return home from a long job overseas or an extended stint up north, his first request, after catching up on sleep, would be for a ‘proper curry’. And like clockwork, we would put on our best dinner outfits and head down to the Radjoot on 4th street. Didn’t matter if it was December 30th or July 15th, this was my dad’s one request when he came back from the rigs. And let me tell you, Gerry was a grumpy sod until he had his ‘post-job curry’.

But at the time, the late eighties, Indian food was fairly rare in Calgary (and especially the southwest quadrant) and westernized Chinese food was all the rage with my friends. As you can guess, for an 8-12-year-old my dad’s obsession with Indian and refusal to order “Chinese food” like every other family in the city was infuriating. At the time when every other kid in Calgary was going out to eat Ginger Beef and Beef and Broccolli or Greek-style Pizza, dad was dragging us down the street and teaching me about the difference between madras and vindaloo, how to temper the heat of a curry with milk or bread (never water), how to snap apart a papadum, and of course how to properly spoon out the fennel candy after dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I now absolutely adore a solid curry and those dinners were fond memories, but as a petty pre-teen, jealousy was a strong emotion at that age and doing what everyone else’s family did was far more important than making dad happy.

Fast forward a few decades and hindsight being 20/20, I now fully realize why he craved a ‘proper curry’ upon his return. I understood how much it reminded him of his childhood and how much that meal was his comfort food. And while I won’t be able to share another curry with Dad again, I am looking forward to passing on some of his traditions and stories.

Happy Birthday, Dad. Miss you.

Categories: The-Family, the-turners,

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