Thinking about Thanksgiving

It took me until Wednesday this week to clue in that Monday is Thanksgiving.

Really, I shouldn’t be that surprised. October is a busy month no matter what year it falls in.

When it also happens to be an election, it’s doubly so.

It’s times like these that the madness of everyday life can catch up with us. I remember thinking the past few Saturday’s that I didn’t know where my week went.

But as I was working on newspaper after newspaper this week, I also began to think — what does Thanksgiving mean to me?

I was pondering this question when someone stopped by the office.

It was someone I haven’t seen in quite some time. I don’t know him well, I wouldn’t say we’re friends, but he always makes me smile when he stops by. His name is Patrick. He used to come by regularly. We see him less often now.

Our conversations always start the same way:

Me: “Hi Patrick, it’s good to see you again!”

Him: “How do you know my name?”

Me: “You used to come around here all the time!”

Him: “I did? Oh yeah!”

Then he’ll tell me a joke or two. They’re often inappropriate, sometimes a little confusing, but his delivery and story-telling make me laugh along just the same.

Sometimes he’ll ask for help — yesterday he invited me to a round dance and asked if I could spare a quarter.

He also told me a joke and laughed about his teeth — all while flashing a big grin, letting out a unique laugh and sharing his joie de vivre.

Patrick is someone you might just hurry by if you saw him on the street. He’s dealt with loss and pain and carries the image of his deceased partner on the face of a watch he wears on the front of his right wrist.

Despite that, though, in a day filled with stresses, he was a bright spot.

As he has before, he made me smile and made me laugh. If he can smile and laugh, surely I can too.

As he went on his way, another person came to the office to see us. She wanted us to print out a colour photo that we ran back in July of her and her husband during their 70th anniversary.

We happily obliged.

As the day wore on, and problems came up that needed solving, I forgot about those two little interactions I had in the middle of my day. I forgot about them until I sat down to write this column.

Those two conversations, despite their brevity, reminded me how thankful I am that I have a rich group of friends who support me and a large circle of family who love me, no matter how far away they are. They reminded me that I have a whole life ahead of me still with which to laugh, learn, grow and love.

They reminded me of all the good I have in my life.

It’s the second time this week I’ve had that realization.

Earlier this week, in a different format, for a different audience of friends, family and acquaintances, I published something raw and difficult about some of the personal struggles I’ve had.

The support, from near and far, was overwhelming.

That too reminded me of how lucky I am.

How lucky I am to have a roof over my head, food in my fridge, and a stable job I love.

How lucky I am to be generally healthy and living a comfortable lifestyle.

How lucky I am to have people in my life who care about me.

I encourage you to take even five minutes this weekend to think about what you’re thankful for.

It’s easy to forget, as we try to keep up with the pace of life.

Happy Thanksgiving.