As a person not acculturated in the holiday tradition of Thanksgiving, the whole idea seems a bit odd to me: designating one special day for confirming gratitude. In actuality, the day is spent cooking, eating, drinking, sitting around the table with people you do not see very often, with whom one is not all that comfortable, but if one is not spending this day with somebody, loneliness would strike unmercifully. One expresses gratitude to the hosts, of course, for offering the meal and a home for the evening. Can it be the sole purpose of the holiday?
Gratitude for what else?
The poultry industry pushes its big bird, as this is one of the two holidays a year where turkey is traditionally eaten. Yes, my hosts produced a perfectly prepared turkey that was delicious with nicely flavoured gravy on the side. The birds are not caught in the wild anymore; the bird traditionally eaten only in North America, is put on your table after being raised in a pressure cooker of concentrated nutrients and additives to keep them healthy, then slaughtered in plants, packed and shipped off all over the continent where they are stored in refrigerated packing houses until delivery. Thank you to the poultry industry for feeding us and providing jobs.
The company was entertaining. The guests had driven some distance to get there, using gas. Many in this country travel to their families by air for the long weekend, using more gas and keeping the oil industry going. Thank you for the travellers for providing those jobs.
Toronto airport was the site of desperation and angry travelers, stranded because of a slow down action of AC employees. In this country, the labour laws and union contracts are always under siege from the conservative federal government’s aggressive, union busting practices. Thank you for the support staff and other employees for emphasizing that fact.
The table and the home of my hosts were nicely decorated and the guests brought seasonal plants and other gifts. The home décor industry ties in Thanksgiving with the next event: Halloween. Orange and brown candles, fuzzy dolls with brooms, dried corn stalks and other fall coloured ornaments are the mandatory articles that no host want to miss out on. Michaels and other home décor places sell. Thank you to the interior décor industry for creating more jobs.
Several bottles of wine were part of the evening that enhanced our entertainment. The jokes were funny and I even won the poker pot. The local wineries in the Okanagan are pushing their wares with the fall wine festival events and yes, they must sell and have sold many bottles these last days, I’m sure. Lately, I have seen more imported bottles in my friends’ homes, as the local wineries seem to be pricing their product out of the range of many middle-income families. An Australian, South African or Chilean bottle seems just as nice, if not nicer for a lower price. Loyalty to local product only goes so far. Thank you to the dealers of the alcohol (and in some other circles, of the drugs) for provided the euphoria we need to be able to relax and enjoy ourselves.
And last of all, but not least, thank you publishers of books and internet designers and programmers, especially Steve Jobs, for creating and growing the internet industry so we can have the feeling we are communicating.