Tuesday, December 5, 2023

A Time to be Thankful

This year seems to have been flying by at a pace greater than the 60 seconds per minute that our watches display. As September came to an end, I glanced at a calendar and realized that another Thanksgiving long weekend is upon us, and while I’m not much for holidays or celebrations, Thanksgiving is my favourite of the holidays celebrated in our neck of the woods, and it falls conveniently during my favourite time of year.

The arrival of October brings with it cooler air, a colourful display provided by the numerous trees which surround us, and the beginnings of preparations for the long, cold winter that is to come.

Over this long weekend families will gather for feasts, many of which will include the traditional turkey, and all the fixings. It’s a time to come together and celebrate all that we are thankful for, not the least of which is the local harvest.

In a chaotic and at times terrifying world, it can be easy to forget that we should be thankful for the little things.

Thankful to live in a nation where folks with opposing views can publicly state and defend those views without fear of government reprisal.

Thankful that we can lay our heads on our pillows each night without having to fear bombs dropping from the sky, or tanks rolling through our neighbourhoods in the morning. I can’t imagine the sheer terror that some are forced to endure in war ravaged nations, where tomorrow is much more uncertain than the tomorrows we look forward to here in the safe land we know as Canada.

Though we of course have our worries and frustrations, they often pale in comparison to the worries and frustrations experienced elsewhere, and for that I think we should all be thankful.

We might be frustrated by a pothole-filled road, or by ever rising taxes. We might worry about the quality and sustainability of our healthcare system, or housing affordability. However in nations where the roads are decimated not by potholes but by bombs, or where public healthcare is little more than a pipe dream, our frustrations might seem almost comical.

Not that our frustrations and concerns shouldn’t be taken seriously, they should indeed, but from time to time, a little perspective can help us to realize that problems or not, things can always be worse, and indeed they are in many parts of this world.

As I consume news from around the world, I often find myself thankful for the good fortune I have somehow been granted to live in a quiet, safe community, in a relatively quiet, safe nation. When I see coverage of hurricanes or earthquakes, I am thankful that we don’t have to deal with such traumatic and destructive events. When I see war-torn cities across the ocean, I am thankful that war has not knocked on our doors here in Canada during my lifetime, and I like to hope that it never does. When I see story after story reporting violent crimes ravaging communities, I am thankful that we don’t see such issues in little ole Meaford.

Having bounced around this beautiful blue ball that we call home quite a bit in years past, despite visiting dozens of other countries and having tromped all around much of North America, I haven’t found any place else that I would rather lay my head at night. Not that this, or any, community is perfect, but this community checks virtually all of the boxes on my list of what is important in a place to call home.

On a personal note, I am thankful that my two sons, now both grown adults, are hard at work building careers and lives. They are both safe, fed, and sheltered, and they are finding that balance between the hard work of ‘adulting’ while still finding time to enjoy life with friends and family.

I am also thankful to readers of this paper. Next month we will celebrate our 14th anniversary since launching as an online newspaper in November of 2009. From the beginning our readers have been active and engaged, and we’ve published thousands of letters to the editor over the past 14 years that show just how engaged our readers are.

Obviously there are many things for which to be thankful, and I like to take the opportunity provided by the Thanksgiving weekend to remind myself that the stuff we can be thankful for typically outweighs the stuff that frustrates us, and that can be a good reminder to receive because it is very easy to become wrapped up in the world’s problems while forgetting all of the things that make life worth living.

Whatever your plans are for this coming Thanksgiving long weekend, I wish you and your friends and family the best of times, a safe holiday, and an escape from the daily frustrations which often weigh heavily on our minds. This weekend is a time to set those frustrations aside, and to be thankful for those closest to us, the rocks that we lean on, the elders who we consult in good times and bad.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers. Enjoy your turkey, or whatever festive meal you are celebrating with. Have fun, but be safe. If you enjoy some alcoholic beverages during your festivities, don’t get behind the wheel, call a cab, or have a sober friend drive you where you need to go. There is no upside to drinking and driving.

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