The final week of my Canadian odyssey has coincided with this vast and beautiful nations Thanksgiving. A time when it’s populous give thanks for a plentiful Fall harvest, gratitude at living in this beautiful country, along with honouring unofficial king William Shatner.
As an Englishman I’m unsure if I’m allowed to take part in these submissions of gratitude. If so though, after a challenging year where I’ve experienced two life threatening illnesses, I’m thankful for my health. As winter approaches I’m also grateful for copious amounts of back hair; my pelt adding the further layer of insulation oft required when temperatures drop to zero.
I’m also thankful I’ve the god-given oral dexterity to whistle the Bulgarian national anthem. Although I’ve had little recourse to use that skillset, I’m positive it will come in handy at some juncture while ambling aimlessly on this existential sojourn.
Gratitude and thankfulness are noble traits. As singer/songwriter Sting once wrote in his 1988 hit ‘Englishman in New York’:-
“If “manners maketh man” as someone said
He’s the hero of the day
It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile
Be yourself no matter what they say…… “
Unlike the singer, who like me was raised in the north east area of England, I’m an Englishman in Ontario, not New York. However, it matters not in relation to Sting’s point about the importance of good manners and appropriate responses to impoliteness.
The Elizabethtown abode, where my hosts have shown me impeccable manners and warmth throughout my adventure to the land of the maple leaf, celebrated Thanksgiving with a splendid family meal. Not to mention valiant attempts at fulfilling the advocacy of global drink advertisement ‘Drink Canada Dry’.
We dined on ham, vegetables, good chat and laughter. Washed down with copious amounts of vino, along with mischievous but well-meaning sarcasm. Canadians certainly know how to celebrate and host a good evening. It has to be said, though, to my mind the strict dress code of guests having to adorn mounties uniform adds an unnecessary level formality to the occasion.
After clearing my plate, I submitted to my hosts that what I’d just consumed was the finest Thanksgiving cuisine I’d ever encountered. If truth be told, it’s the only Thanksgiving meal I’ve ever eaten, but as Sting wrote ‘manners maketh man’.
Today, the official Canadian Thanksgiving Day, was intended to be a quiet time in the aftermath of yesterday evenings festivities. Family dogs Milo and Lou have other ideas though, with sporadic surprise bursts of barking which isn’t doing my still recovering heart a great deal of good…… Perhaps I’ve been premature in offering thanks for my return to health earlier in this narrative!!
As I write, Milo is currently attempting to leave a dog shaped hole in the patio door glass every time a squirrel, rabbit or chipmunk gets within one hundred yards of his home. Lou isn’t as noisy, however the Siberian husky’s tendency to occasionally launch herself across the room like a missile can be unsettling. A quite amazing fete of dog athleticism belying the fact she’s afflicted by two arthritic hips.
Don’t get me wrong, my new canine buddies are both warm, affectionate and good company, but for some reason today’s cacophonous outbursts, puncturing long periods of idyllic silence, have me more on edge than normal.
Niagara Falls is tomorrows planned destination on my Canadian odyssey.