Photographer: My dad, Raymond W. Stilborn

Photographer: My dad, Raymond W. Stilborn

It’s Thanksgiving Day in Canada. It’s a day of thinking of all that we have to be grateful for, of celebrating the harvest, of joining with family and friends to feast on turkey and pumpkin pie (unless you’re a farmer, in which case you’re likely very busy getting the crop off the field and the grain into the bin before winter).

In Canada, Thanksgiving has nothing to do with Pilgrims, or Plymouth Rock — although when I was a child, we dutifully colored pictures of Pilgrims in tall hats and buckled shoes. I suspect that most of the Thanksgiving-themed coloring pages available in the early 1960s had been produced in the United States.

With the smell of grain dust in the air, the crackle of leaves underfoot, and the bounty of vegetables from the garden, the Thanksgiving emphasis in Canada has traditionally been on the harvest (and the aforementioned turkey and pumpkin pie). Kidzworld has a great overview of Canadian Thanksgiving at this link.

And, of course, gratitude is of prime importance on this day of thanks-giving. Thinking of all I have to be grateful for produces a very long list. Click on the magic words to learn a few of them…

Where would I be without my family and friends? Although I don’t have many family members nearby, I feel a deep bond of connection that defies distance. I have been blessed with a loving and functional family in this age of so much dysfunction, and I realize what a treasure that is. I also have wonderful friends, either in “real” life or in cyberspace, who mean the world to me. Thank you to all of you for all that you bring to my life.

I am grateful for memories, some that pop up at the oddest times — for the shared bonds of common stories that enhance those family and friend relationships that I treasure, and for the odd little things, such as the sudden remembrance of one of my mother’s pet phrases, or finding myself singing a snatch of song that I used to hear Mum singing around the house.

The other day at the library, I loaded my arms with books, DVDs and CDs to review on my Starborn Revue blog. I am so grateful for libraries — especially for our province-wide library system that means any book, DVD or CD in a public library anywhere in the province is only a few days away from my hands. I have benefited so much from this in the past few years of doing book reviews on my blog — no longer am I limited to what is locally available, or to what I can afford to buy.

As I thought about those CDs, I realized how lucky/blessed we are to live in an age where recorded music is possible. I am grateful to all those who worked to make this a reality — it’s really not that long ago in the grand scheme of things.  Before 1877, when Edison invented the phonograph, the only way to hear a particular musician was to be present at a performance. Now, we can hear our favorite musicians any time we like, with amazing clarity. We can only imagine what it was like to hear the young prodigy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, at the piano. These days, the video would go viral on YouTube in a matter of hours!

The internet is a mixed blessing — but I am so grateful for all it has brought into my life, particularly the connections I experience with so many wonderful people, whom I would never have the chance to know otherwise. I have had the opportunity to be a part of writing classes, writing groups, and fun groups. I have had the chance to work with people that I could never have dreamed of working with, and becoming friends with, in the pre-internet days. What joy, learning, and growth this has brought to my life.

I could go on and on… Instead, I’ll point you to a lovely book that I’ve mentioned before, Grateful: A Book of Giving Thanks. The words are from a song by John Bucchino, and the book includes a CD with the song performed by Art Garfunkel. It’s a gentle reminder of the joy of giving thanks.

I am, in the words of that song, “truly blessed and duly grateful.”

Happy Thanksgiving! What are you grateful for today?

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