Another Thanksgiving long weekend is upon us, and while I’m not much for holidays or celebrations, Thanksgiving is my favourite of the holidays, and it falls conveniently during my favourite time of year.
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.
A friend recently asked me why Thanksgiving is my favourite of the holidays, and my answer is simple. It is a holiday that is not based in religion, and is enjoyed by folks of all faiths, as equally as those with no faith at all. It is a holiday that isn’t about giving gifts, but rather expressing thanks. It is a holiday that celebrates everything and everyone around us, and for me, it is a simple, enjoyable holiday that doesn’t burden us with expectations.
Naturally, it is at this time of year that we often reflect on the many things for which we are thankful, and in this, our first post-pandemic Thanksgiving, I am certainly thankful that we have been learning to live with and move on from that pesky COVID-19.
As in many years past, around the globe this year has also brought with it natural disasters such as earthquakes, wildfires, and hurricanes. I’m thankful that we live in a relatively safe region where those sorts of natural disasters are uncommon, and typically our worst natural worries are major snow events or the occasional tornado scare.
Given that this is a municipal election year, and we will be casting our votes in just a few short weeks, I’m thankful that I live in a country in which we are allowed to vote, a country in which we can freely criticize our governments without fear – not every inhabitant of this planet has such luxuries. We call them rights here in Canada, but I have expressed my thoughts on rights before, and while I don’t think we truly have any ‘rights’ as if they are granted by man, they can be taken away by man, but we do have many privileges here in Canada that I treasure, and the privilege to vote is one of the most important that we have.
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.
I am thankful that there are residents of this community who will mobilize and speak out when an issue is important to them. I am thankful for those active citizens even when I disagree with them, because without residents willing to raise alarm bells or to rally the community when they see a problem, we’d risk being a community that allows itself to be walked over by those who wield power.
I am also thankful to readers of this paper. Next month we will celebrate our 13th 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 hundreds upon hundreds of letters to the editor over the past decade 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.
Most of our readers will gather together with family and friends this coming weekend, and there will be storytelling and laughter, interesting conversations, and of course there will be copious amounts of food to share, and for that I think we can all be very thankful. We don’t have to go far beyond our own bubbles to find people in our community that are suffering financially, physically, mentally, and Thanksgiving is perhaps a good time to think of those around us who do suffer, as any one of us could be suffering tomorrow.
In short, I am thankful for the opportunity to be thankful at all; not everywhere in the world provides the conditions in order to be thankful. I would imagine that it is much more difficult to be thankful as bombs are dropping on your town, or while terrorists are waging war on your government. I would think that it is more challenging to express thanks if you and your family are slowly starving to death in the midst of a drought. I am certain that it would be difficult to feel thankful if you were sent to a work camp for expressing disagreement with your government.
We truly do have it very good here in Canada if we take an honest look around the world.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers, I hope this long weekend brings you much joy.