This week I am “Thankful” for Linda Boles who just happened to stop in our office. I was struggling with how I would write our story because I remember the very first time we would be hosting and really celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving with my Canadian family. I love my Sunday morning writing to you, but this Sunday I knew I would be prepping the fresh turkey, making mashed potatoes, and doing all those things we normally don’t do until our Thanksgiving, which this year is Nov. 28th. Hard to believe that ours is more than a month after Canada’s.
Linda stopped by to do some things in town hall, but she left me with many thoughtful gifts of the heart. I told her about my upcoming Thanksgiving, and she shared with me her thoughts on being thankful and of showing gratitude. She coined the phrase in her daily life of “Attitude and Gratitude.” Wow did that touch my soul. Isn’t it true, so much of what we get from others comes from the attitude and gratitude that we send out to them? Linda has always been one of those beautiful people who radiates love and kindness even though she has had some very tough times in her own life. Linda’s smile always has a way brightening my day.
Linda reminds all of us to be present, to stop, breathe, think and enjoy our daily gifts and time. The idea of being mindful requires us to “rewire” our approach and how we do things. Linda said we have to take being grateful one step further, and boy does this go along perfectly with Thanksgiving, too. Linda reaches out and tells people why she is grateful for them in her life.
Linda told me the story of a doctor that she recently saw. She expressed to him, that she would not be able to deal with her own health problems through the years if she did not have his support. You will be shocked by his response… he stopped, paused and became very teary. He told Linda that in all his years of practice no one had ever said anything like that to him. Talk about making your own day and someone else’s too! Maybe our one take away from this week’s story could be that we all try and do that with at least one person. Please let me know how it goes, too
I’m going to share one right now…. a couple weeks ago a man was in registering his car. I walked by a few times and said hello but kept going. As I passed, I heard this wonderful man say to Allison, “I read her story every week. I look forward to it, because she is real.” Storm Gages, touched my heart more then he could ever know. I will never forget Storm Gages and his words will always be with me to give me confidence to continue to write each week, to share our little perfectly imperfect stories together.
Linda’s words became part of me, too. I really tried to spend more time with our small family this weekend instead of getting caught up in worrying about trying to make a perfect Thanksgiving. I talked to my Aunt Gail and learned things about my mom’s family that I never knew. I visited places in our town with 2-year old Julia that I had never been to before! We explored deep into the orchids of Sunnycrest and fed the goats too!
When I told Ann Champa that I was so looking forward our family coming into town, she said something like “Hey you should write about Why there is a difference in the two dates.” I think that’s a nice way to end our story so here goes.
Let’s talk a little bit about why our Thanksgiving and the Canadian Thanksgiving are different dates and if they are celebrated differently at all. Thanksgiving really has to do with the blessing of a bountiful harvest and of family and friends. My understanding is that because Canada’s harvest season is earlier than ours, and the climate is cooler, they started celebrating in October back in the 1800’s. Our first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 by the Pilgrims in Massachusetts.
The traditional foods of turkey, squash, pumpkin and potatoes were shared by both countries. Canada celebrates their day on the second Monday in October, we celebrate ours on the fourth Thursday in November. Another interesting difference is that if you celebrate Thanksgiving in the USA, it is always on that Thursday. Canadians can vary as to whether they have their feast on the true holiday which is Monday, or they might enjoy it on that Sunday. When I asked my family, they said that they always have their big meal on Sunday and then Monday is known as “Leftover Monday.” Kind of fun. Actually, I’m finally just typing to you now, it’s Monday and they just left at 12:30 p.m. But before they did, we broke out the containers and made big turkey, stuffing and cranberry sandwiches some to be enjoyed here and some to be taken for the road.
Just one other big difference is that here the day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday and it’s a day of huge sales and 24 hours of shopping for some. Canadians don’t have that but what they do have is Boxer Day, which is Dec. 26. It’s the same idea of big sales and lots of shopping but it’s not until the day after Christmas. My mom and I use to take a ride each Boxer Day to Hampton Beach because it is a special day to Canadians. The only problem would always be nothing at all was ever open here. The only place we could count on to be open for lunch was a bus stop in downtown Portsmouth years ago. The same but different from country to country.
One little tradition that we started with our family when the girls were little was writing down what you are grateful for that year. Everyone takes a small piece of paper and writes it down, without signing it. After dinner while we are relaxing around the table still, the container with all the thoughts is passed around. When it is your turn, you pick one out, read it and then everyone has to guess who wrote it. Some of the them are very touching and then some are funny, too. I always keep them through the years and each year we read a few favorites from the past.
Alyssa Treanor contacted me to let me know about a great event which we can all help with in one way or another.
Alyssa is a senior at LHS and co-captain of the pep rally team. She wanted us to help spread the news about their 4th Annual Jimmy Fun Walk this coming Sunday, Oct. 20. If can join in or make a donation we would all be so Grateful! http://danafarber.org/goto/londonderryDFCI.
Sherry Farrell is Londonderry Town Clerk and a lifelong resident of New Hampshire.