Thanksgiving Number Two

November 30, 2007 at 4:17 pm (goings-on, Other) (, , , , )

One of the cool things about being an American in Canada is that you get to celebrate two Thanksgivings. Actually, I didn’t realize there was a separate Canadian Thanksgiving until I moved here. The food is the same: turkey, stuffing, typical autumn harvest fare. But, Canadians only get one day off work instead of two and their Thanksgiving takes place in early October so it doesn’t have that same kicking-off-the-Holiday-season feeling as American Thanksgiving. Historically, though, the Thanksgiving celebrated by Canadians was the first ceremony to give thanks in the New World. It took place in 1578 in the colony of Newfoundland and Labrador, whereas the thanks-giving feast honored in the US first took place in the Virginia colony in 1621.

Lucky for us, Eleanor’s passport arrived just days before our slated trip to Seattle where, every year since we moved out here, we have been graciously invited to join Stephen’s aunts and uncles for Thanksgiving dinner. We’re officially an international family now with Eleanor traveling on Canadian documents. (A child’s passport in Canada was just so much easier and cheaper than jumping through the hoops we would have had to jump through to get her an American passport.) I don’t want to name the border crossing that we use, lest it not be so easy-breezy getting through next time, but we go an alternate route bereft of tourists and security threats and sail through every time. Even on Thanksgiving Day, when you’d think there might be a handful of other Americans out there trying to make it down to the homeland for turkey, there was not a single car in line. Now, coming home was a different story. We sailed through going north, but even at our little out-of-the-way border crossing that nobody knows about, there was a line-up half a mile long of Canadians heading south to spend their Big Dollars (that was for you, Dad) on cheap American goods. I wondered what they were going to do–camp out in mall parking lots to be the first in the doors when the stores open at 5am?

Thanksgiving dinner was wonderful, thanks to Aunt Sandy and Uncle Wes. They do a great job every year. This year, with little Eleanor about, Sandy got to practice being a grandma and boy will she be a good one one day! She’s the chocolate and ice cream lady, the band-aid-bearing boo-boo fixer. And, she’s got drums and doesn’t care how much noise you make! Eleanor liked banging on the drum set and even made a little music on the piano. By the end of the night, Eleanor was really fond of Sandy. She wanted to be held by her and gave her a hug when we left. She was a perfect little angel.

Uncle Ralph and Aunt Ruth came over from Vashon Island. Ralph presented Eleanor with a beautiful stool that he had made years ago and left to collect dust on a shelf in his shop because he wasn’t pleased with it. He fully disclosed all of its minor imperfections, but I thought it was beautiful and it will get a lot of use by a little girl too short to reach the sink but too fastidious not to wash her hands thoroughly and frequently. (She actually requests to wash them sometimes.)

All in all, it was a really nice gathering. I only wish we could get out of the city for longer than a day at a time. But, alas, Stephen had to get back for the final presentation of his Master’s Thesis the very next day. That was yesterday, so he’s done with phase I of his graduate studies! Now on to the PhD.

And, we didn’t arrange it like this on purpose, but we actually have a two-day weekend together, so we’re going to check out the Vancouver Flea Market and a winter-harvest farmer’s market that we just heard about. Just counting down the days now until our next big adventure: Christmas in Atlanta with all the Ingrams and a chance to see my own family for a too-brief get-together!

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