The second Monday in October is Thanksgiving in Canada. We pause for a moment to think about the things we are thankful for.
I love this holiday because it is so uncommercialized. It’s not about toys, or gifts, or cards. It’s a time to express our gratitude for all that we have.
In our family we say grace before meals and then each person at the table says what they are thankful for over the past year. If you are the 17th person it’s a little difficult to not repeat what everyone else has already said.
This year I have been thinking about the people who are and have been so important in my life.
- My parents. They brought eleven children into the world, took good care of us, educated us, and loved us.
- My 10 brothers and sisters. No matter what was happening, no matter how bad we felt, there was always at least one ally to support us.
- Kathleen MacDonald, my grade eight teacher. Her dedication to her job and her care for the girls in her classes inspired me. It was then at age 13 that I decided to become a teacher, a job I held for 45 years.
- My uncle Alex. He never married. I think he felt sometimes that he needed to help Mom and Dad to bring us up. He never criticized my parents, or any of their decisions, but with an amazing sense of humor managed to support both them and me.
- My childhood friend, Betty Ann. She was funny and like a sister to me. When I heard she had died a few years ago, my heart broke.
- My in-laws. A wonderful family. Like my own sisters and brothers. My mother-in-law is 90 years old and is greatly loved.
- My husband. ♥ He is the love of my life and we have been married for 45 years. (I was just a baby!)
- Our four daughters. On my wedding day I said to one of the guests, “Mrs. Warren, I hope I have four daughters just like you.” I guess wedding day wishes really do come true.
- Our four sons-in-law. They are true partners to our girls. They love their children and treat us like royalty.
- Our eight grandchildren. They are smart and beautiful. They are kind and generous.
- My very dear friends here in Oshawa. I love you and appreciate you.
It is that time of year again. It is around 21C (70F) here today so still warm but fall is in the air. The leaves are just starting to show the change of colour and I am looking forward to several events that every autumn brings.
- The cooler days and crisp nights. After a summer like we’ve had, it is enjoyable to put on a hoodie to go for an evening walk.
- Apples. I so look forward to fresh apples from Ontario and there are so many different kinds of apples to choose from. They are truly a delightful fruit. If they were good enough for Adam and Eve, they’re good enough for me.
- Cooking. I have been busy planning our meals in the slow cooker and the oven. I think about potatoes, and turnip, squash, zucchini, carrots, and other fall veggies. In the summer I rarely turn on the oven and when I do it is usually in the early morning for an hour or so. But now, it just warms the kitchen nicely. Stews, pasta al forno, casseroles, and skillet dinners. Mmmmm.
- Bowmanville’s Apple Fest. Every fall, the small town of Bowmanville, ON has an apple celebration which takes over the whole town. My friend, Eleanor and I have been going for almost ten years. It has grown from a local event to one that draws crowds from as far away as Toronto. The whole Main Street is closed to traffic. Booths are set up. Craftspeople sell their wares. We always buy big bags full of apples there and a former colleague sells her home-made honey there as well. Eleanor and I always plan to stop to have lunch, held in a local church basement and served by the ladies of the congregation. There is a choice of sandwiches, the best home-made soup, salad, and the most delicious apple crisp served with ice cream. All this plus tea or coffee for around $5.00.
- Baking. I can turn the oven on again and I plan to use all those apples in mouth-watering recipes. Apple crisp. Apple crumble. Apple pies! Last year my new recipe was apple pie cake. It was amazing. And this year it will be Autumn Apple Bread. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
- The leaves. In Ontario as well as all of Eastern Canada the fall foliage display is spectacular. There even an old steam engine which runs to the Agawa Canyon where I am told the colours are incredible. In the Toronto area, we have daily news reports on the status of the leaves. Starting around this time, the radio stations and the weather channels on TV will broadcast what percentage of the leaves have changed, so you can maximize your thrills! Right now I would say it is around 1%, but further north it may be further along.
- Back-to-school sales. Even retired teachers can enjoy these sales which offer many “treats” to tempt me to buy. This year I bought myself a very nice little something which I hope will bring many hours of enjoyment.
- Church bazaars. I am sure that church bazaars are held all over Canada, but I just love the ones around here. There are so many things for sale and there is always a raffle or two. There is usually a section set aside for serving lunches (which of course Eleanor and I take advantage of). There is often a used book table. I once bought twenty Perry Mason books for $2.00. I’m still reading them. You can buy house plants and knitted goods, and at our favourite bazaar, there is a turkey raffle every hour, where you can buy tickets for a beautiful plump turkey.
- Word On The Street. In Toronto, there is a huge book fair which is held in the grounds of Queen’s Park, the seat of the Government of Ontario. Book sellers and publishers have booths set up. There are readings by well-known authors, special deals on magazines and books, and freebies as well. We try to go every year, and it is nice to browse, even if we don’t buy anything.
- Thanksgiving. This is my favourite holiday because it focuses on family and gratitude. In Canada Thanksgiving is held on the second Monday in October so the leaves are at their peak. We try to get together with as many family members as possible, but living in different cities makes it difficult. Sometimes we just stay home and have our Thanksgiving turkey with Jim and Eleanor, our good friends.