Canadians from sea to sea to sea are finally putting the dregs of their Thanksgiving Day dinners away in their fridges. Most will go to bed tonight still drugged from the turkey tryptophan sedation. Our politicians who are still scrambling like beavers today, in hopes one of them becomes the Big Canadian Cheese tomorrow (Election Day) probably missed the opportunity to a sit down family affair. And perhaps some of our less fortunate citizens who cannot find their way to the free dinners at shelters and centres missed out on a special dinner too.
I was one of the more fortunate people today. How so? I shared my Thanksgiving day dinner with my Unitarian Universalist Church of Halifax family….and my sweetie, L.A……and my guide dog, Opal….and L.A’s mum… and the friends and family members of all the UU congregants…and Reverend Julie (her first Canadian Thanksgiving). Reverend Julie asked us to speak out the name of one person who we would want most with us, but could not be there to share with us; those who live away, those who are ill, those who have passed on. Voices sprang up around the room, “Ivy” , Billy”, “Lorena” … I whispered, “mum”.
The food was pot luck, but oh, how extraordinary. It was one of those unusually well-organized pot lucks that went off with out a hitch. No tables were set ablaze from the candles, no one choked on the turkey (regular, free range and ‘Tofurkey’ my vegan contribution for Norm), None of the kids hurt themselves or others (except Aidan managed to hurt pocketbooks by selling a bunch of catalogue items for his school after the meal– I called him the UU version of Duddy Kravitz . He didn’t know what I was talking about, so I explained about Mordecai Richler’s infamous character). We ate the best food, all carefully prepared by everyone, in a civilized, joyous mood. Yes there was wine, but unlike some nightmarish family dinners of my childhood, no one got drunk. The volunteers did what was requested of them; setting up tables, dressing tables, decorating, shlepping stuff from home, working collaboratively to eat as a large group. The dishes got washed instead of broken. The leftovers were distributed to those with not much at home. Photographs were snapped, yet no one minded. I hugged my sweetie and held her hand and no one cared. Opal lay quietly as we feasted ( I fed her after). Music played at an appropriate level instead of deafening people. The rain stopped long enough for the kids to go out and play. People talked and talked like long lost friends, even though many of us had just been at service yesterday. It was the perfect family dinner. It was so UU.