When I was a kid, sharing Thanksgiving meant a squished seat between relatives and a turkey the size of a small truck. Around the table we went, as requested, sharing something we were thankful for. Nothing was off limits. One answer, for example, might be the four helpings of mashed potatoes I am about to eat. Not soon enough, late as I am to most things if you ask my friends, I figured out that it was those excess of relatives and very existence of a bird at the table that might give me pause.
But I digress.
- Every minute, every hour, every day that I live in Canada; that I don’t have to smell war or famine out a broken window; that my fellow Canucks, for most part, just murmur a quick curse when they get a parking ticket and then pay it; that we line up quietly, not of blind obedience, but of mutual respect for the other guy; that our welcome mat is well trod; that we can express devotions, spiritual and otherwise, without fear.
- Four seasons. Who isn’t grateful to find green shoots poking up in spring? That first morning without coat or socks when we all flip for sheer summer decadence? Then, just when the air is getting clogged, fall blazes in an excuse to cuddle up and shop for woolly stuff and yes, I do need another pink scarf, thank you. Christmas lights, in all their giddy varieties against a snowy backdrop? These deep joys come after weeks of anticipation. We here in the true colourful north have gratitude practised as the calendar turns.
- A tolerant partner. 20 years of marriage have taught me that humour may be the balm and touch the breath but tolerance is what gets you a back rub 24/7.
- Healthy kids with smarts enough to challenge me and compassion enough ( see tolerant partner) to see me through my muddles.
- Their teachers who demonstrate crazy commitment daily. Anyone who has widened your kids intellectual, physical or emotional reach gets my deep respect and thanks. Mostly for taking them off my hands and doing the job well.
- My tribe leaders count life long learning as the only way of being. My 80 year old parents just dropped off some British newspapers, given to them by a travelling relative, to fuel a recent lively Sunday dinner debate over trivial stuff like the decline of culture. They attend lectures for seniors on the the Japanese economy and latest research from NASA. When they aren’t hobnobbing it around campus, they attend concerts at a dizzying pace, send emails, write letters to lazy politicians or attend rallies to save a cherished institution. My first and best teachers have a house built of books and a burning curiosity that smolders on down the generations.
- I am not an only child. Those same tribe leaders would have had a field day with an only child. I am the middle of five. Makes for instant parties at holiday tables.
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