Feeling thankful

As I write this, it is Thanksgiving Day. For Canadians it is much different than previous Thanksgivings. For Marnie and myself, we are in Calgary celebrating our granddaughter’s first birthday, which coincides with the Thanksgiving long weekend. For most families across Canada, the traditional gatherings of families and friends around the laden table has been scrapped. Instead most celebrations have been limited to immediate household members.
A year ago, we were at the cabin doing the final close having feasted on a turkey supper. There were only the two of us, but it was always a tradition to have a Thanksgiving turkey supper at the cabin. Originally, the turkey was cooked in our wood burning cookstove that did double duty heating the cabin and cooking our meals. The stove had a reservoir that gave us hot water almost continually. It was in most cases the final wonderful meal celebrating the summer cabin season.
Most of the leaves had already fallen. The water temperature in the lake had fallen to the low 50’s F.
The crisp outdoor weather built our appetites. Often, we finished splitting wood for the coming year. We had electricity produced by a small diesel generator. The generator also ran the electric pump that brought water to a tap in the kitchen. There was always something special about those turkeys cooked in the wood stove. Maybe it was being outdoors; maybe it was the smell of wood smoke floating through the air as we worked outside; maybe it was just the specialness of being at the cabin in mid October.
This year as I looked at Facebook, I can see that my friends are also following the guidance of health officials across Ontario to limit their Thanksgiving celebrations to their immediate households. There is sadness in this, but as concerned families we must protect each other in this pandemic. It is not only a civic responsibility, but also a family responsibility to protect. That is what has made this Thanksgiving so different.
As we walked Calgary park trails over the past weekend, there were signs everywhere to practice social distancing. There were reminders to wear masks in any indoor facilities. It is the new norm everywhere in Canada.
My daughter-in-law is busy behind me preparing the big meal. She is a fantastic cook, and I am looking forward to enjoying the fruits of her preparations. For me it feels strange to have someone else preparing the meal. It is something that I have done for over three decades. The smells from the oven and stove are already tantalizing. For both myself and wife, this Thanksgiving will always be special. We are thankful.