Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Canadian Thanksgiving

This week-end is the final long week-end of our cottage season. While generations ago it was Labour Day that signified the closing of the cottage, now it is generally Thanksgiving week-end most people do the dreaded closing up activities.

This week-end we have once again invited Terry’s family for our annual feast. While we do this because we actually enjoy each other’s company, the thing I am most thankful for is the fact Terry’s sisters enjoy a lot of the cottage tasks I find just plain work. I relegate myself to the kitchen to appear useful, but more importantly I keep busy in the kitchen just to stay out of the way.

The main job needing done at the cottage on Thanksgiving week-end is taking out the docks. This isn’t necessarily a difficult job but it does require some team work. In spite of being married to Terry for 17 years, I still can’t read his mind. In spite of being told this fact for 17 years, Terry still believes I can read his mind. This often results in friction as he tells me to get a certain tool or hold the dock a certain way and I am supposed to know what he really means. Nevertheless, Terry and his sisters seem to have a way to communicate in order to get these jobs done in a peaceful, if not often comical manner. This must be a blood is thicker than water type of thing.

Our thanksgiving feast will include the traditional turkey and stuffing and gravy and potatoes and veggies and pumpkin pie and of course the wine and beer and cottage snacks. It is definitely not the week-end to kick start the diet.

My American readers may think it strange we are having our Thanksgiving so early. I often wondered why we Canadians celebrate in October while our neighbours south of us wait until November. I decided to Google it and was fascinated with the results. It turns out Canadians were the first North Americans to celebrate Thanksgiving! Who knew?

If you Google it yourself you will discover all of the details. But basically the first Thanksgiving was in 1578 by Martin Frobisher to celebrate his safe arrival back home from trying to find the Northern Passage to the Pacific Ocean. (Global warming…sorry climate change….is making safe passage through the Arctic a reality now…. but once again I digress.) In Canada Thanksgiving has been celebrated every year since but often for a variety of celebratory reasons and the date was all over the place. Canadian Parliament actually nailed down the date to the 2nd Monday in October in 1957.

I personally believe it was a teacher that picked the October date. Right about now teaching staff (and kids) are in need of a break. We have got our routines back in place, but the bloom is off the rose, the honeymoon is over, etc etc. It is time to enjoy a day off before the snow arrives!

Americans and Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving differently. We don’t watch football and we don’t shop. Canadians are much more focused. We eat!!! Oh…and drink our beer (there is no question our beer is better) The best way to celebrate Thanksgiving is at the cottage, with the foliage peaking in colour, but it is still warm enough to sit on the soon to be brought in dock with a beer in your hand…now that is Canadian!

By the way… do I break the news to my American friends it was a Canadian who invented basketball?

Note: By coincidence, it turns out one of our managers at the board office is now dating the brother of the couple who live across our lake (No, Canada isn’t really that small… it is quite a coincidence) Anyway….thank you Lana for taking a picture or our cottage last week-end. It shows our little white cottage surrounded by the beautiful foliage….hasn’t peaked yet….hoping it will be this week-end.


Ed said...

First of all, you are right about the beer. Let's hear it for Moosehead and Molson! But I live in Germany, and our beer is better than even Canadian beer. So there! But you Canucks are missing the boat. You could squeeze another holiday out of your calendar if you also celebrated Columbus Day. After all, he discovered the entire New World. You could fit Thanksgiving in between that and your Remembrance Day. Let's hear it for more school holidays!

SUSAN said...

Hey Ed; I would like to argue you about the merits of Canadian beer vs. German but to be honest I don't have all of the facts. However, I am quite willing to do the research to find out!

As to the additional holiday, I am in total agreement. Actually, just last year, in Ontario, we now have Family Day in February as an excuse for an additional holiday.