If George Carlin had met me as a little kid, he would have called me a “fussy eater”.
I was never a fan of what people might call “healthy” food. The only vegetable I ate back then was potatoes. There was a time when all I ate was bacon and eggs in the mornings and hot dogs at night. I never drank milk, only chocolate milk. Although the majority of it stemmed from me wanting only food I liked, it also may have been the result of not having tons of money to afford other stuff.
So you can imagine what I thought of Thanksgiving back then.
I didn’t like turkey, gravy (which I still don’t, mostly due to good taste and intelligence), cranberries, turnips, and whatever other vegetables that are served. So my plan back then was to fill up on mashed potatoes and a little bit of the dried, white turkey meat…
Sidebar: It wasn’t until I was an adult when someone finally mentioned that dark turkey meat isn’t as dry as the white meat. I wonder why they never mentioned that to me when I was a kid? I always told them I didn’t like white meat because it was dry and horrible. Guess they were just evil pricks.
But I digress…
I forced down the white turkey meat and filled up on mashed potatoes because even dessert, pumpkin and/or apple pie, wasn’t appealing to me at the time.
At school, our Thanksgiving activities usually included colouring cornucopia, talking about corn… and that’s really it.
Nothing was mentioned about the origins of Thanksgiving in Canada, like Mayster Wolfall, one of Martin Frobisher’s crew from his 1578 voyage to find a Northwest Passage. After enduring ice storms and freak weather, Wolfall held communion, stating that they should be “thankful to God for their strange and miraculous deliverance in those so dangerous places …”.
When French settlers arrived with explorer Samuel de Champlain in 1604, they and others that followed held huge feasts of thanks. They even held feasts with their First Nations neighbours where their food was shared between them. The actual date of Thanksgiving bounced around a bit, until settling on April 5th, 1872. This was the first time after Canada had become a Confederation, but it also celebrated the recovery of a royal who would eventually become King Edward VII.
The time of celebration changed, usually occurring in late October or early November, even mixing with Armistice Day (which would become Remembrance Day). Finally, it settled on the second Monday in October in 1957.
Did I know any of this back in the day? Did they teach us about the history of Thanksgiving in Canada? Nope! Sure they focused on the harvest aspect, but as my very quick search uncovered, the origin of Thanksgiving in Canada didn’t have a lot to do with harvesting anything.
These days, Thanksgiving is about getting together with family… if they have time. Everyone has busy lives and it is harder and harder to gather together. Instead of being something joyous, it feels more like a chore. I’m not a big fan of chores.
The other thing for me is that, waiting for one day to be thankful for the good things you have is kinda stupid. We should be thankful every day for the things we have. We should be thankful to be alive. We should be thankful to live in a country where we can live our lives pretty much as we want. We should be thankful for the people in our lives that make life worth living, who makes us laugh, think, give us support, friendship, and love. We should be thankful to see the Moon in the sky, to hear birds sing, to smell lilacs in the spring, to taste Banana bread, to feel the soft fur of your cat or dog.
There are so many things we should all be thankful for each and every day, every hour, every second, that giving thanks once a year, while eating turkey and putting up with familial indifference seems kind of small and pointless.
Don’t wait until October 12th (or for you Americans reading this, November 26th), to give thanks for what you have, for the beauty all around you, for what you love, and for who cares for you. Because those are the things to be truly thankful for.