Canadian Thanksgiving (2002)

Sometime in the 1960s, in a land about 700 miles north of here, the
nation’s grandmothers felt very much left out of all the protesting
against war and nuclear weapons and the like. Free health care and a
generous social security system didn’t leave much for them to demand in
the way of social justice until an enterprising few noted that
Thanksgiving was just too close to Christmas. The proximity of these
holidays on the calendar, they reasoned, required that they cook two
feasts only a month apart and further gave their families an excuse to
attend one or the other. They joined forces with the first nations
(“natives”), who had been quite successful with their highway blockades
for whatever they blockading for, and marched on Parliament to demand
Thanksgiving be moved to Columbus Day and Colombus day be removed from the
calendar. The Prime Minister, recognizing that the Vikings had landed in
Nova Scotia before that upstart Spaniard was even born, conceded to the
demands. Many historians suspect the PM did it out of patriotism and never
knew demands had been made. This is all, of course, completely

…Few things are sacred in my family, dinner is one of them. Turning on
the TV during dinner would be equivalent to brushing one’s teeth with holy
water or making nachos with the host and serving them at a Super Bowl
Party. Nobody has been known to do either, to the best of my knowledge.
But it could happen. Vegetarians are tolerated at the dinner table, vegans
are eaten…

…Since my family immigrated, a couple years before the earthquake
everyone mistook for The Big One, Thanksgiving has happened twice a year.
In October the turkey is served to family, in November to expatriot
friends who aren’t quite sure what the feast has to do with big ice cream
cones filled with produce, indians wearing feathers and people in top

…Today’s got the distinct flavor of “One of Those Days”. I fouled up my
holiday availability sheet and showed up at 0700 to discover I’d been
ordered out at 1300. Every time someone says “McKinnon” I wince, knowing
I’m going to have to explain what I’m doing here. It doesn’t look like I’m
going to be sent off though, which is nice because I’d rather not call in
sick after showing up in uniform. I wasn’t looking forward to explaining
to the APD that I’d been bitten by a large fish while at Safeway and
didn’t feel up to working anymore (maybe tomorrow). It was that or tell my
mother that I wouldn’t be at Thanksgiving after all…

I’m careful who I identify with when I go to the movies. When I saw
“ Jaws& #8221; I was cheering for Jaws. Well, he was where he was SUPPOSED to be:
in the water. You’re going to the beach, he’s going to the supermarket. If
he was to come in here I’d be with you grabbing a chair to beat the s-o-b
[Gil Scott-Heron. JAWS. Track 10 of
First Minute of a New Day]

…I found my phone after I’d resigned myself to it’s loss. I revisited
every place I’d been since I last had the phone out, as we’re supposed to
do when we lose something. I had already started planning my response,
which is no small task when you don’t have a phone or know any phone
numbers, when I discovered it was exactly where it was SUPPOSED to be: in
the charger…

…Maybe the link between Jaws and my cell phone’s a little weak, given my
phone – baring some horrific accident involving a carp and a top secret
radiation experiment – isn’t going to eat me…