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  • Wendalynn Wordsmith

Thanksgiving Day

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in Canada. Growing up (with regards to Ballan family in Regina), it was not a big deal until more kids entered the genealogical pool. There were the odd Thanksgivings in Saskatoon at my Grandma and Grandpa Jensen's house, but that was so long ago. Every year the same set of humans would get all crazy over being thankful for (in some cases) driving nine hours to have a supper that took four days to prepare only to be eaten in fifteen minutes. The Thanksgiving suppers have stopped since my Granma Ballan passed away and my parents went all Yellow-Vestie, and we now go to Richard's parents' place in Tisdale.

Unlike Christmas, I do not miss travelling to eat a tonne of turkey and stuffing - every Ballan supper included turkey, including one Mother's Day. During this pandemic, the choice to not visit family has been made easier. Richard and I are having supper here tomorrow night: pork chops, some kind of rice dish, wine and dessert (the icky pumpkin pie is for him, I get cream puffs!) Virtual holidaying is not something considered at this end. Frankly, I would like being offline much better, as I can eat what I want and not feel bad about not using the bread plate - there will not be one! I can still do my own thing, virtually, now that I think about it.

Do not get me wrong, we need to be thankful for what we have, but it should be all year; much like a pet is not just for Christmas. We have friends and family who are suffering from job losses, personal disconnections and an increase in mental health concerns. We are also seeing an increase in foodbank services and shelter needs during this time. Before the pandemic, I had wanted to spend the day helping out at our local shelter, something I have wanted to do for a very long time. There are strict rules to the number of people allowed and some places have turned away volunteers due to physical distancing regulations. This will be an awkward time for those receiving the Thanksgiving supper, as the rules also apply to them. We need to be thankful for these places, as some of our friends and family may be needing to use the services offered.

I thank the health service workers (though not the ones who refused to take me to hospital after a serious low blood sugar episode) and I thank those in the education system who have been working now and throughout lockdown. This is a given. I am thankful for musicians and artists who have been forced to work for free (or a small donation) to survive. Some people on limited income have helped step up to help their musical sisters and brothers out - much more than governments in other countries have done. The Canadian government has introduced various programmes to help as many as possible during this time, and for that I am thankful.

Richard and I both have jobs that we were able to continue doing during the lockdown, we have a house, working utilities, computers and cars. I am envious of those who have figured out container gardening, but thankful for the hints I have received so I can do it next year. I am thankful for the food we are about to eat and have been eating for as long as I have been able to. I give my heart to the migrant workers who have sacrificed their safety (especially during COVID-19) to allow us to have canned cranberries and that weird jelly-lettuce combo. Richard's thankfulnesses are his own. Also, being thankful for a wonderful life partner is part of an everyday thing.

(How many times can I type 'thankful' without it being redundant?)

Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of me coming home after spending ten days meeting, conversing and all-around-having-a-good-time with my friends Tony, Dave, Steve, Steve and Mick in the UK. That is what Thanksgiving will be for me this year.

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