October 11, Thanksgiving Sunday

Published by Victor Barr on

I have so much to be thankful for.

Today is the day when we reflect on the fortunes that have been bestowed upon us. Today is Thanksgiving Sunday. Canada has celebrated Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October since 1957. At that time the Canadian Parliament decided to recognize that day as an official holiday. Prior to that people celebrated thanksgiving as they saw fit, usually from the middle of October to the first week in November. The first Canadian Thanksgiving dinner was in 1578. English explorer Martin Frobisher and his crew gave thanks and observed communion. These first explorers were celebrating their safe arrival in Newfoundland.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend, to everyone.

This year my thanksgiving is different than ever before. We celebrated it with my dear friend and best man Brett. We also had our dinner last night on Saturday, and turkey was not on the menu. For that I was thankful. Not that I dislike turkey, but flat iron steak was a much better option in my humble opinion. Steak, fresh sourdough bread, potatoes, beans, carrots, and tomatoes fresh from the garden filled our table with culinary love.

I spent the day in the garden, pulling weeds and reaping what we sewed. It was overwhelming, much like our year has been. In April when we planted our hopes into the soil, I thought I would be able to keep up with the weeds. I thought that our garden would be a way to survive and thrive in the oncoming coronaverse. I thought wrong. Without the fabric to hold the invasive plants at bay, the weeds overwhelmed our fragile plants. Only the very hardy veggies won out in the struggle for green supremacy.

We had successes and failures in what we grew and what survived, some of our veggies thrived. I felt a good pain as I pulled the weeds from the soil, I was alive with the effort. It was satisfying unearthing the potatoes and picking the fruits of our labours. Despite the viral infection of the weeds, many of our fruits and vegetables sprouted and survived. We can now enjoy the bounty of our harvest.

Thanksgiving is another interesting difference between Canada and our neighbours to the south. We celebrate it on the second weekend in October. The United States has Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November and has been that day since Lincoln was president. In Canada, our Thanksgiving corresponds closer to when we harvest our crops, therefor the middle of October makes the most sense. Canada gets two and a half months between turkey dinners, which for me works out just fine.

This year things are strange without a big gathering of family and friends. I feel like a part of our lives is missing. My wife’s parents have been watching the news lately, they are concerned with the second wave, they are afraid of being exposed to our viral nemesis. I understand why they are afraid; they are among the most venerable age group of our society. With cases very low in the Okanagan, I am saddened that the fear of the viral storm has kept them sheltered in their home. I hope Christmas is different, I hope we can gather again. I hope at Christmas they feel safe enough to celebrate; at their age, every Christmas counts.

My dear friend and brother from another mother and I sat staring into the fire last night. The flames danced and we connected, we reflected. We remembered days long past, our friendship has spanned more than three decades. The flames flickered and died, only to be stirred up again. Rekindled like our memories of a thanksgiving years ago when we caught a monster Girard Rainbow on Kootenay Lake. 

In the morning we were going to try to repeat history and go fish the Okanagan, in search of an elusive lunker. We laughed and sighed about all the memories we shared. Friends since high school, this was a special Thanksgiving in the coronaverse.

This morning I groggily awoke from my slumber, suffering from our indulgence of the night before. Brett and I ventured onto the water in search of a flash of silver, seeking the wiggle of the rod and the pull of the line. The only pull on our lines was from the waves being pushed by the gusting winds.

It didn’t matter. We were together on the lake.

My thanksgiving was a celebration of things we can be thankful for. I am thankful for my friends and my family, for my life in the Okanagan. I am thankful we can weather any storm; we will come out on the other side. Stronger and more connected than ever before.

Categories: Daily Journal


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