Alice Munro’s “Deep-Holes,” opens with a picnic. Sally, Alex and the children are celebrating Alex’s first solo journal publication at a site central to the geologist’s research: Osler Bluff.
Readers follow the picnickers along while they walk the quarter mile to the site, unpack and distribute the sandwiches, pour the champagne, clink the glasses. Meanwhile, Munro unpacks her characters’ character: their foibles and fascinations.
Sally is regretting the eggs because they are messy. As did I, incidentally, having not yet found the trick to packing them without incident.
Alex begrudges his wife’s “needless” breastfeeding when six month old Savannah could quite easily be transferred to the bottle. If only Kent were not so attentive to “Mommy’s milk jugs.” He has the makings of a “dirty mind,” Alex fears.
After the meal, nine year old Kent falls into a deep hole, earning himself one cleanly broken leg, one shattered – an escapade for which Sally receives a stern reprimand from the doctor at the Collingwood Hospital and Kent, a six month reprieve from school.
For our picnic (and by “our” I refer to the various family members I coopted into this experiment) we tried gamely to avoid such holes. The crab (and acini di pepe) salad and the slightly battered eggs were, I can report, well received. The key here is the garlic mayonnaise.
And because we strive for accuracy here at Canadian Literary Fare, the photos hail from Osler Bluff and Blue Mountain with views of Georgian Bay below.
It’s good to be home.
Munro, Alice. “Deep-Holes.” The New Yorker. 30 June 2008. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2008/06/30/deep-holes. Web. 17 August 2015.