Pulla Line-ups and Enjoying “Possus” At Suomi Koti (TBay)


On November 18th, there was an early line-up at the door, as there always is, when the Suomi Koti Ladies Auxiliary holds its Christmas bake and craft sale. Everyone’s eager to get a loaf or two (but that’s all, because now there’s a limit!) of freshly baked pulla, with or without raisins, and the table quickly gets cleared. There weren’t many left by the time I reached the table, but at least I wasn’t too late this year!

Hanna Mannila described the busy baking session just the day before, with the ladies working three batches of dough - punching, braiding and baking all day long. I bought one with raisins, wondering, as I always do, about the mysterious dislike that some people apparently have for raisins (who are these people?!).

I ran into Liisa Lahtinen, President of the Ladies Auxiliary, and asked her what the group was raising money for currently. She was fiddling with the remote of a large, flat-screen tv as we spoke, and explained that this was their most recent purchase. Some movie nights would soon be organized, once someone figured out how to programme the remote. Liisa said that they hadn’t planned what their next expenditure would be, but that there was always something needed in the building.

Anja Irwin, in her marimekko apron and her Lappi ribbon hat, was particularly looking the part for a Finnish craft and bake sale but she was quick to clarify that she was just helping her cousin, Anja Hankilanoja. He cousin was the skilled crafter of all that was displayed on the table, as well as the hat on her head. “I might have to buy this hat”, she confesses, as she describes its comfortable fit.

Anja Irwin tells me about a weekly knitting session that she and other women attend at Anja Hankilanoja’s house. Among other projects, they’ve been knitting babies’ caps for the last 8 years, which they donate to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the hospital. They make a delivery whenever they have a batch of 100 completed.

Meanwhile, next over, are racks of woven, crocheted and knitted shawls, ponchos and scarves that are the creative one-of-a-kind designs of Sirkka Konu. She shows me one that contains repurposed panels from some cushions that had belonged to her mother. Another pancho has been designed from an old sweater. Old woolens are not wasted in Sirkka’s hands but instead get transformed and take on a new life as creative, wearable works of art.

This is Annikki and Ritva Köhlin’s second craft sale in as many weeks and they’re enjoying the reward of a jam-filled possu, now that nearly all the piirakkas are sold. “Ihana että ei tarte piirakoita enään tendä!”, (wonderful that I don’t have to make any more piirakkas) says Annikki with great relieve, as she takes a big bite. She’s been baking piirakkas for 4 days straight, she tells me, and now it’s finally time to relax.

I head over to the kitchen window for my own little possu reward as Kati Aksela is settling down with hers at the raffle table. She provides me with the caption for the photo I take of her, “onnelinen hymy” (contented smile) she says, but points out the important detail that it’s “vain puolikas” (just half).

I’m not quite so disciplined. In fact, I might go back for seconds, before heading home, filled to the brim with happy experiences ….and wearing my own “onnelinen hymy”!

Text and Photos: Anneli Tolvanen

Voit lukea Thunder Bayn Suomi Kodin joulumyyjäisistä suomeksi Kanadan Sanomien 5. joulukuuta ilmestyvästä numerosta.

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