Monday, October 8, 2012

Poutine for Thanksgiving

I asked Shelly to post another article. She's only had three months of grueling editing on a book she doesn't even like. I offered to soak her worms in Worcestershire sauce, but even then the deal wasn't sweet enough. If you don't believe I had to write this myself, read on. This is as un-Shelly as it gets.
I love Turkey Day, and I love Canada. As a kid at Grandma's house, the eleventh fourth Thursday was cousins and no chores and a pumpkin pie all to myself. In 2002, after moving back from living a year in Canada, I got to watch the Olympic hockey medal ceremonies live in Salt Lake City.  Though I'm a U.S. citizen, I sang “O Canada” as loudly as I could while the men's and women's teams got their golds. Yep. I know the whole first verse.
I now celebrate Thanksgiving in November and October. I'm sure Mr. Columbus doesn't care Canadian Thanksgiving is the same day as his. This way I get a gratefulness holiday in which I have to ignore commercialism and one in which there's none to ignore. So, here are my gratefulness musings for 2012.
I'm healthy. I can do what I need to and what I want to with few limitations. Part of my holiday weekend was a fund-raising bike ride from a city park to a lodge, ten miles away and 2000 feet up. Oh, sorry, eh. That's 16 kilometers and 610 meters. From there, up another 610 on trails. I made it. To the top. No past injuries or congenital problems or lifestyle diseases hindered me. From there I could be grateful for a fantastic landscape that spanned two states. It would have been three and a certain foreign country, but there was obscuring smoke from wildfires. Which is gratefulness topic number three: the fires missed me.
Lest anyone think I'm boasting, I'll point out I was the last of fifty-odd entrants to summit. Two years in a row. One guy who passed me early on was older and completely gray. That hurt the ego until I saw his jersey front later. U.S. Marine Corps. So don't take me for a mountain bike poser, either. Half the riders skipped the first half and started at the lodge. A dozen or so of them didn't summit at all. One man asked if I was still in college. While jotting down my thoughts a lady asked if I was doing my homework. That was back down at the lodge, in the sun, with a barbeque and a live band. Not my kind of music, but the lead singer was great. If I closed my eyes, I would swear Billy Joel was there in the National Forest.
Gratefulness topic number four: none of those things happen in a peace-less place. No music, no relaxation, no expending of that much energy for health or uplifting entertainment. And nothing but weeds. I know because I've lived in places where the gunshots were not hunting rifles and not limited to a few weeks every year.
Number five: Shelly finds my kids obnoxious. Well, ma'am, they do wash their hands after pooping now. Mostly. They're healthy and good natured and I love 'em. As long as I'm un-apologetically sentimental, I'll tell you I love my wife tons, too. They're my favorite people and I get to see them every day. So think on that while you're unconscious, all by yourself, morosely buried in the cold winter ground.
That doesn't... I need to work on my turtle insults. Or I could be grateful I've never needed to have good insulting skills.
This is the time of year I start making plugs for my favorite non-profit organization. Kiva combines microloans of $25 from people in developed nations to help those whose history has been unstable. All my loans have been repayed, and quickly. Rather than reclaim that money, I've relent it several times over just like most of the others who lend. And Kiva never takes a cut. They're funded by donations.

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