What Are You Thankful For?
A holiday weekend like Thanksgiving can remind everyone what they are thankful for, or the long weekend might be just that, a long weekend. Tradition is celebrated in many ways. Some traditions are practiced for so long, we forget the”why” we do things they way we do. I am personally thankful for friends and family and especially the wealth of information my grandparents passed down. Coming from, let’s just say, very humble beginnings, my grandparents literally began with their young, adult lives with the clothes on their backs, whatever job they could get, and a joy for life, family and friends. Traditionally, celebrations and holidays were extremely looked forward to. Family would gather at my grandparent’s small, comfortable house as it filled with all of the familiar smells of my grandmother’s cooking which made everyone hungry all day, in anticipation. These were times that were filled with laughter, stories of adults getting caught up, relatives pinching kid’s faces and pats on the head acknowledging how much everyone had grown since the last holiday, and on occasion, too many helpful cooks in the kitchen became a source of entertainment for observers like myself. My grandparent’s had four children, all girls. Each one at the time of this story, adults with children of their own and each one, determined to help prepare dinner. While some families gather for one dinner, sometimes a two night stay was required for out of town guests. First night went like clock work, Turkey dinner with all the trimmings and enough for hot turkey sandwiches in the upcoming week. Second night, roast beef dinner required a preparation argument as the four sisters tried to impart their knowledge on the best way to cook a roast.
My grandfather, a quiet man, a Scottish man, quietly drank tea while an argument ensued amongst his four daughters and his wife. I sat beside him, also drinking tea and when our eyes met, he winked and mouthed a “Shhh” and took a sip of tea, and shook his head with that smirk of his just waiting for reality to set in when he would comment.
“No! You have to trim both ends before you put it in a roasting pan!”, said the eldest daughter.
“The best way is to cut off the one end and put it in the roast pan! That’s how Mum has done it all our lives!” said the second eldest.
“I think I remember Mum cutting off a little snip at both ends,” commented the third eldest.
“I don’t remember you cutting off any ends, tell them Mum!”, added the youngest.
And that’s when Grampa, raised his tea cup and suggested, “Yes, why don’t you tell them the best way to cook a roast.”
My grandmother, a feisty, little, French woman, put her hands on her hips and with a determined face said, “That’s enough! I don’t know what is wrong with you girls. If you put a roast in the oven, it’ll cook! Back in the day, we only had the one roaster and depending of the roast, I’d have to cut a bit to fit it in, sometimes on the one end, sometimes both, depending on the roast! Now stay out of my way while I get this full roast in the oven!”
“And that dear girl, is how you cook a roast properly! You put it in the oven! ” Grampa smiled at me.
And then the kitchen filled with laughter, the very small kitchen, in a small house located on small, bumpy Wishman Street, in the a small Town called, Kirkland Lake, where I learned to be thankful. When I recount humble beginnings, my grandparents taught me to be thankful for a “way of life”, understanding the difference between want and need, that going without didn’t mean, couldn’t survive, to live each day doing good deeds, sharing, and appreciating. I am only second generation Canadian on my grandfather’s side and so my hopes and thoughts for all, however you celebrate, even if you do not celebrate, is a simple reminder and a challenge. Take a moment, and that’s all it takes, and just say it to yourself, even a whisper works, ” I am grateful for…” and not just for this weekend but try it every day and see what happens… suddenly the problems, like the size of the only pot you might own, become no problem at all! This philosophy makes me so thankful to live in Shelburne, and share this amazing community with the world.
Thanks, Shelburne! All the best everyone,
Have Fun & Stay Safe!