FAMILY AFFAIR

Holidays spent in hometown reunites woman with her intolerant roots

As the holiday season approaches, urbanite Debbie Turkstra is thrilled to return to her hometown to visit family and friends, and to reconnect with the small-town ideals from her days of old.

DUNNVILLE, ON—​As the holiday season approaches, urbanite Debbie Turkstra is thrilled to return to her hometown to visit family and friends, and to reconnect with the small-town ideals from her days of old.

Turkstra, who moved to Toronto's bustling Junction neighbourhood after graduating from U of T's political science program claims, "it's nice to forget about all that diversity stuff once in a while and just go home and have a nice, normal Christmas."

Turkstra has been living in the GTA for nearly a decade, but says it's important to remember where she came from.

"To go from such a busy, cluttered city with all that culture and social justice and enlightenment – it's just way easier to come home to a place where the only hub of social interaction is the Home Hardware."

"Toronto is great, but every once in a while, and especially at the very end of a particularly difficult year, as we're counting down the seconds towards another clean slate, it's important to be reminded just how much my uncles hate 'people like' Anderson Cooper," says Turkstra about the famed CNN anchor and his New Year's Eve countdown special.

Sometimes it's just really important to reconnect with your roots, and for me, those roots happen to be my father shouting racial slurs at the television while watching pro football on Christmas Eve.- Debbie Turkstra

"I also really look forward to my mother's cooking every year," she continues. "It's like, every single day I'm surrounded by so many options. I can sample flavours from literally every corner of the earth. It can be very overwhelming, gastronomically speaking. And though I like to remind each member of my family just how much I enjoy maguro Nigiri-zushi, it's wonderful to spend the holidays eating a non-stop beige buffet devoid of any flavour whatsoever."

"Also, sugar!" she adds, with no further explanation, and a wild look in her eyes.

Tursktra says one of her favourite activities over the holidays is bumping into people with whom she went to high school and hearing them clamour on about their existence, so notably unchanged from the lives of their parents and grandparents before them.

"Fourth baby on the way, new sink installed in the kitchen, maybe finish the basement in the new year, Mom's got a thing on her neck but the doctor says it's probably nothing, what's an Aleppo?, the kids are doing well in school, but it turns out Brantley has a learning disability so he'll have to get a tutor," she explains.

Most important though, Turkstra enjoys spending time surrounded by her family over the holidays. "None of my family moved up to the big city. I'm alone up there," she admits. "Sometimes it's just really important to reconnect with your roots, and for me, those roots happen to be my father shouting racial slurs at the television while watching pro football on Christmas Eve."

Before leaving the independently-owned fair trade coffee shop / craft brewery above which Turkstra lives in a one-bedroom apartment, she adds one wish for the festive season: "I truly hope everyone who reads this has a very Merry Christma – oooops, I'm not home yet! Happy Holidays!"

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