Happy Thanksgiving from Canada
As I write this, I hear children playing hockey in the road.
Growing up in the UK we did not celebrate Thanksgiving but in our school assemblies and church services we did celebrate Harvest Festival, a communal acknowledgment of the earth’s bounteous gifts. The hymns and rural gatherings marked the end of the most active time of the year in agricultural communities, with anticipation (and hopes) that stocks will be sufficient to survive the winter.
Sophisticated logistics ensure that the urban shopper is isolated from the calendar of crop selection. Everything is always in season. Our visceral link to the land is diluted and our appreciation of the Harvest diminished. Or so I believe.
In North America we have Thanksgiving. Broader than an agricultural punctuation mark, it marks the busiest travel time of the year as families come together.
For some of my neighbours though, the reasons behind their Thanksgiving celebration are closer to the earlier settlers.
You see my neighbours come from Colombia, the Philippines, Syria and Venezuela. They come from guarded compounds, Cochrane razor wire, and barred windows. They come from physical threats in the workplace, kidnappings and extortion by the neighbour drug pushers. Their children played indoors or in guarded court yards watched over by poorly paid guards, bribable in support of their own families or in fear of their well being.
Every day was lived in fear. So they came to Canada, and left that fear behind.
And now, while they are preparing their Thanksgiving turkey, the windows are open, the Cumbia music is playing (blasting)—and their children are playing hockey in the road.