Giving Thanks. October 11, 2010


Giving Thanks
Yesterday, Monday October 11th, was Thanksgiving.  Don decided to phone and wish his Uncle Alex, who at 82 has lived in the United States for all his adult life, a happy Canadian Thanksgiving.  We were surprised when Uncle Alex said that he did not remember celebrating Thanksgiving growing up in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Even though Uncle Alex is starting to suffer some memory loss we wondered if he were mistaken, as usually, when the memory starts to fade the early events of a life are the ones that remain intact.
We Googled the subject to find out that Uncle Alex was correct. The formal celebration of Thanksgiving in Canada is a fairly recent event.
On January 31, 1957, the Canadian Parliament proclaimed:
“    A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed … to be observed on the 2nd Monday in October.    ”

For Thanksgiving dinner we often have an extended gathering of family plus friends, however this year it was strictly a family affair.
There were seven adults and four children sitting down to a sumptuous meal that we truly had to give thanks for in light of all the ongoing trials and tribulations that are part and parcel of living on Mother Earth. We were mindful of the toxic waste spill in Hungary.  Sent a silent prayer to the 33 miners still trapped in the Chileans mine.

We were grateful for the Calgarians who chose to forgot their own family meal in order to volunteer at the Mustard Seed (a place of shelter for those in need)in order to help prepare and serve a turkey dinner for the homeless.  This act of generosity reminds us that despite the ongoing trials experienced by so many, there is always that little ray of sunshine.
Before starting our meal we joined hands and Gillian volunteered a grace.  While eating we passed around the ‘talking rock’.  The person who has the rock has the floor and expresses gratitude for something positive in their life or the good things that happened that day.  The aim is to focus on the positive even if, at the end of the day, you feel as if you’ve been flattened by a Mac truck.

One thing that everyone feels gratitude for is the Indian Summer we have been blessed with.  For those not familiar with the term it refers to a period of unseasonably sunny and clear weather (above 21 °C (70 °F) after  all the leaves have put on their fall colours, but before the first snow has fallen.  It is the reprieve that those who live in the northern hemisphere long for before the snow blankets the landscape for the long, cold, dark, winter months.

What was on our dinner table?  Turkey with Apple-sausage dressing; Chevre mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts with bacon, savory carrots, gourmet sweet potatoes (the real sweet potato not yams), baking soda biscuits and cranberry sauce.  Plus, an assortment of pickles.  Not to mention the wine.
For dessert we strayed from the normal.  Usually it’s lemon meringue pie, apple pie and pumpkin pie.  This year, as we celebrated three birthdays while giving thanks, we served chocolate cake with boiled sugar icing, garnished with dark chocolate shavings.  As it is mandatory to have something pumpkin we had pumpkin cheesecake instead of the traditional pumpkin pie.

At the end of a happy family occasion we stop to reflect on life’s constant changes and wonder where we will all be next year?  Will additions (the birth of a baby) or deletions (a death) take place?  Whether the upcoming events are happy or sad overall it is lucky that we cannot see into the future. All we can do is give thanks for what we have today and let tomorrow take care of itself.

A belated Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

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