“You’re Canadian, right? From Canada.”
“Right,” I replied. “And right again.”
My neighbour from across the street continued, “So you celebrate two Thanksgivings, right? One at home and one here in Florida.”
“Right again,” I smiled. “On both counts.”
“Well then, I sure hope you got enough to be thankful for,” he said as he sauntered away.
I found myself thinking about that as I lay barely awake in bed this morning, long before dawn, wishing I were still asleep. In Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday of every October, and this year we had gathered, as usual, with our two daughters’ extended families—numbering twenty-two with our granddaughters’ boyfriends added to the mix.
I first dated my wife when she was a lissome lass of sixteen, and neither of us ever went with anyone else after that. For sixty years, we have celebrated Thanksgivings together, and once upon a long time ago, hosted the family events. But we are honoured elders now, along with the other grandparents, and at our age, find the celebrations a tad tiring, if still wonderfully joyous. When someone asked what we are thankful for this year, we agreed on the big five—our family, our friends, our two homes, our financial security, and our continued good health. And then we raised a glass to the hope they will continue for some time to come.
American Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of every November, some six weeks after ours, and so, being in Florida by then, we celebrate it, too. More quietly, though, as if somewhat apologetic (as Canadians are wont to be) for our privilege and good fortune.
As I lay abed this morning, pondering these thoughts—half-awake, wanting to be asleep—I could sense more than see my wife beside me. Both of us were lying on our backs, she snoring ever so gently—as I had likely been doing, too, before stirring. And it slowly dawned on me that we were holding hands, our fingers loosely interlaced by our sides.
I smiled quietly into the darkness of the pre-dawn bedroom, acknowledging, not for the first time, that this is what I am most thankful for. No matter where I am.