An Action of Grace: Canadian Thanksgiving

What’s the purpose of Canadian Thanksgiving?

From The Canadian Encyclopedia:

The first Thanksgiving by Europeans in North America was held by Sir Martin Frobisher and his crew in the Eastern Arctic in 1578. They ate a meal of salt beef, biscuits and mushy peas to celebrate and give thanks for their safe arrival in what is now Nunavut. They celebrated Communion and formally expressed their thanks through the ship’s Chaplain, Robert Wolfall, who, according to explorer Richard Collinson, “made unto them a godly sermon, exhorting them especially to be thankefull to God for theyr strange and miraculous deliverance in those so dangerous places [sic].”

Mills, David et al. “Thanksgiving in Canada”. The Canadian Encyclopedia, 05 July 2019, Historica Canada. https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/thanksgiving-day. Accessed 13 October 2019.

The article makes it clear that “Thanksgiving” has many meanings above and beyond harvest celebrations and Pilgrim landings. It’s a time to thank—god, or your lucky stars—for health and for survival, for whatever prosperity we have, for family and friends, for peace, for democracy and freedoms—for somehow muddling through this crazy life that is given to us.

In the past year I’ve survived fraudsters, tight finances, more crazy roommates and my sixty-fourth birthday, and somehow I just keep going.

I have good friends, resilience, a sharp mind, the music of Beethoven; memories both tender and terrible, all of which remind me I’ve had, and still have, a fairly extraordinary existence in one of the countries that’s most blessed with wealth and goodwill.

I’m gay, and I won’t be put to death for that. I could marry my partner, if I wanted to, and if I had a partner. I have food to eat, a place to live. I have skills that have directed my life down interesting pathways: Classical pianist; bodywork/zen shiatsu; photography and visual art; and from the time I was able to pick up a crayon and annoy people, writing.

And I’m sixty-four and still look good enough that people don’t run from me, screaming. As long as I have my clothes on.

I spend far too much time complaining, going over old hurts, nursing my wounds, worrying, regretting, and eating Kraft Dinner—

—and how do they get FOUR PORTIONS out of that little box? Torturers! Once I added Brussels sprouts, and though they were thinly shredded, my roommate threatened to call 51 Division on me. I saved my skin by adding some Shopsy’s wieners, cut up and boiled in the same water as the pasta.

I will add that my family were wiener boilers from way back. We didn’t hold with socializing with wiener fryers, who tended to be Catholics and other idolaters from southern Europe and even more reprehensibly “ethnic” folk who tried to do more than contribute some new additions to the McCormick spice line.

If the situation warranted, we’d cross the street to avoid encountering a hot-dog fryer family out for their evening promenade, though it hurt our souls to shun them. But how else to teach them the evil of their ways?

Thanksgiving is a time to recall that much of life is in the attitude we take, simplistic though it sounds.

In Québec, Thanksgiving is celebrated much less than in other provinces of Canada, given the Protestant and Anglo origins of the holiday.

The Québec French translation of Thanksgiving is “Action de grâce.” This is a beautiful rendering, which reminds me that grace means to be given something for no reason. Grace is a gift we don’t deserve, love that we didn’t earn. Grace means to be an infant again, held protectively; to dive off the pier and trust the waves to catch us.

This Thanksgiving, give a thought to the refugees of the world: the homeless, hungry and displaced, who are suffering because of wars, famines and natural disasters.

That we are not refugees is an accident of birth, statistically improbable.

Yet, through grace, here we are.

֍

A Satori

 

If seedlings are waking up in clay pots on my balcony, 
if there are tiny, fragile seedlings 
that despite their tininess and fragility
still manage to express their true nature,
just as distant stars express theirs;

If this expression of stars and seedlings
is inevitable, yet innocent;

And if a seedling, a wisp of green, a mere tendril, 
can heave aside a boulder, its opponent,
which is a crumb of earth, 
And the crumb can’t resist —

If the will to life and its expression are that powerful;

if the force of life animates everything and 
everything will continue in its path 
without regard to me or my existence—

Then I know I am, and will be, safe; 

I know that I need only do the next right thing
and that the next right thing will present itself
and I will recognize it.

And I need only do this next right thing 
as completely 
and with as much sense of inevitability 
and with the same innocence
as do the seedlings in the ground or the distant stars.

This is what I understand we are talking about 

when we talk about god.

Monday Man-Crush –OR– How to make a Libtard hard! Top 4 most jaw-dropping Justin Trudeau pictures ever, revealing his Canadian secret of success that is so awesome! Unbelievably??! cute!!?

trudeau-un
How to make a libtard hard?  The look is bemused vulnerability. (Justin, baby?  Answer the phone?)

September 2016

It’s my birthday, and I am donning my tightest skinnies – no Kleenex-stuffing necessary, thank you very much, first in line – plus my “Only Gay In The Village” red sleeveless top in preparation for my man-crushing on this week’s and every week’s hunka hunka burnin’ PM,  Justin, The-Person-Called-Trudeau.

With a bitter yet achingly triumphant shout-out to George Clooney for blocking my relentless barrage of sexts over the past 12 years – manly as your stubbly chin and smokey voice may be, you have nothing on the taut muscles, tousled hair and houri eyes of May I Call You Justin, every gay male boomers’ – goomers’ ? – wet dream.

trudeau-p
Justin – just one more button?  Please?

My swollen,  purple mangina trembles at the sight of our very own PM revitalizing Canada’s brand at the U.N. with his pledge of liberal lashings of humanitarian aid;

Only JT could tumesce my beaver-cleaver with such authentically awful straight-guy dancing as first PM in history to attend Toronto’s Pride Parade—which just shoots the tragic want-so-bad-the-cock-I-cannot-have longing right off the charts.

And at the risk of being TMI about things, I’ve popped such a libtard bologna-pony as he smiles at Syrian refugees, and – aw, shucks, don’t think badly of me – leaked just a little drop, or maybe two,  of pre-cum into my Stanfield’s Y-fronts (available by mail-order in “one-size-fits-all” granny pant version, white only, and not in Québec, je suis so fucking désolé) as he strutted arm in arm with that steamin’ cup o’ hot, hot chocolate called Barack Hussein Obama.

And I don’t mean Nesquik, dudes. That’s kid stuff.  I mean Ghirardelli bittersweet, the finest grown-up America has to offer.

syrian
What does a red-blooded Canuck say to a refugee?  “Welcome”.

Well, that’s what a Canadian thinks; that’s what anyone but an American thinks.  Barry, if you’d been Canadian, if you’d made it to Prime Minister, it would have been business as usual, but we would have fairly bust a collective gut with pride for our black, brilliant, witty, eloquent leader, our model father and husband, the guy who really WAS ready to answer that 3AM phone call, our trophy PM, the embodiment of that dream that is not just exclusively American.

Instead?  Your prime function wasn’t to function. It was to shine the Klieg lights on the tumbleweed-infested badlands of darkest America, to turn over those famous metaphorical rocks and watch as the creepy-crawlies came scuttling out, squinting, Trump-ballots in hand.

Whatever insects have instead of hands.  (Mandibles?  Yuk!)

trudeau-obama.jpg
My fantasy threesome involves Barry, Justin, a  tape measure, and a pizza delivery gone very, very wrong.  ( JT –  you make my mouth water like an amuse-gueule at Scaramouche, but seriously? Brown shoes at the White House?? )

You shoulda been dancing in the streets, Americans; held an eight-year New Deal shindig to which everyone was invited, rich and poor, black and white; where everyone could talk and everyone would listen and every small-c conservative would pop a boner for Barack.

Instead, white str8-tards everywhere rattled the bars of their playpens and spent eight-years screaming  SOCIALISM! eight years badmouthing, lying, sulking;  eight long years wishing that their new-born little brother, the guy who was taking attention away from THEM, could just – lose the birth certificate and disappear.

America, there’s nothing like you, that’s for sure.  What can we say about a country so resentful of its own self-made elite class, a country that beats its gorilla chest and bellows about the American Dream—then spends eight years playing who do you think you are?    

harper-un-joke
Harper was the punchline; we were the joke.

Tant pis.  The only grumbles you’ll hear in Canada these days come from those permanently disaffected overgrown white heterosexual males whose clock is stuck somewhere around grade 9 — Stephen Harper was perfect for them; his affectless, droid-like style barely concealing the simmering resentment of the least-liked kid in school — the Libertarian Geezers  who still think ‘politically correct’ is a current discussion, and who need the company of other similar geezers to give a little lift to their fleeting, sponge-y hard-ons.

But at least most of them are old.  I figure all we really have to do is stall until the geezers are gone to dust and the new generation is in power.  JT is an avatar of that new optimism.

So here’s to my Monday Man-Crush: the so very not-regular guy who reaffirmed that being Canadian is just about the coolest damned thing there is to be;

Justin Trudeau: who touched me in my secret place and made this libtard hard.

trudeau1
“Dude, who you callin’ a libtard, eh…?”

Oscillating and pulsating, on and off, -OR- “What we talk about when we talk about extremely personal hygiene, assuming we’re tasteless enough to talk about it at all, and we are.”

bidet

Campers, I give you herewith:

The dashboard for an electronic bidet’s remote control.

Oh, you heard, cupcake. Oh, yes you did. Stop going “LaLaLaLaLaLa” with your fingers in your ears.

I have so much to share.

Don’t ask me how I stumbled across this treasure. I do not remember. Any more than the bathrobe-wearing 85-year-old dementia sufferer remembers how he ended up on the midnight bus to North Bay with egg-yolk in his chest hair and clutching a box of wet wipes.

(I would like to say I found it “on the computer”. This is how my Luddite friends would respond to the question.  And I don’t complain, much, because at least they’ve remembered that “the computer” isn’t “the TV-looking thing with all the pictures on it”.

(But it’s a losing battle as their trembling white senior-knuckles gradually give up their hold on the crumbling cliff edge of the twenty-first century, and they slide back! back! into the abyss filled with IBM Selectronic typewriters—whose golf ball technology replaced the gentle thwack-thwacking of individual keys with the sound and sensation of being shot point-blank in the forehead with an assault weapon—carbon paper, correction fluid, avocado-green kitchen appliances, orange shag carpeting and push-button princess telephones.

(That was their defining era, the fork in the path when they shook their heads at “progress”, took a just-invented Valium and called Bell Canada for return of their “perfectly good” black rotary dialler.  To get an idea of what Bell Canada was like back then, think Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction” but without the wife to stand in her way.)

Now let us return our gratefully wandering attention to the dashboard in question.  I may be remembering correctly or I may not, but I think it was the options for “front cleansing” and “rear cleansing” – and their shamelessly derivative Keith Haring-inspired icons – that made me stop for a moment and really think about my life up to this point.

Specifically, my total mismanagement of the whole euphemism quandary, including the words “fresh” and “man-scent”, and those countless times when the other person waiting for the elevator opted to let me go it alone.  Always happy for another excuse to lie awake at 3 A.M., wide-eyed and counting the holes in the acoustic ceiling tiles.

Also about: “Deodorizer – on/off”. This instantly raises the bar on what I previously counted as torment, for I have never known a torment quite like the torment of wondering who would choose “Off”.

Also: “Wand cleaning”.  Let me just say that again:

“Wand. Cleaning”.

For the combination of those two words—the wizardly, Harry Potter-ish and oh-so-phallic “wand” and the quotidian, practical “cleaning“, conjuring as it does Mrs Aquino from up the road who wears her support stockings rolled to the knees, and which all but forces your reluctant little face into the fact not just of something NEEDING cleaning, but WHY – well, let’s just say that, in the game of word association I play with myself, “wand” elicits the response “injury“.  As in, “Get this guy to the ICU – it’s a wand injury, poor bastard. And page the plastic surgeon on call!”

Also: “Oscillating / Pulsating”.

This is almost past the point of what the human psyche can bear, because with those two words we’ve crossed a line in the sand that I thought uncrossable.  I must finally face the cold fact, namely:

There is a machine that offers more options for the tender care of my nether regions than my ex-boyfriend did.

WAY more options.

And you know what?  Somehow, I always knew.

god has a totally awesome!!?? message for you +PLUS+Beautiful Fluttering Butterfly Sparkly Totally Awesome??!! Thought for the day!!

godsmessage

So I dropped the 5-lb spinach and ricotta cheese lasagna I was struggling with and about to put in the oven and forwarded this post. Two big things that now need fixing: 1. What to have for dinner,  and  2. Several large pieces of white porcelain embedded in my feet.

That lasagna is like, so totally?! Over!!??

Yes, I have too much time on my hands. But no lasagna on my hands. That cannot be ignored, not even by me, with my Ph.D. in procrastination from the University of Dave and my two-sizes-too-big terrycloth replica of Jackie Kennedy’s Dallas motorcade pink Chanel suit.

Don’t.  Ask.

I have been accused of trolling the Innernet.  Troll!  Feh!  Which I’m pretty sure is Latin for “well, I never!”  Listen,  you may call it “trolling”, my stern little mistress of the punishment ballet that is my online existence.  I call it “staycation”.  And what do you call a troll who trolls the trolls?  Huh?

Yeah, well.  Take another Vicodin and get back to me on that one, why don’t you?

Now could god skip my blessing before he kills me with his kindness and his mysterious ways and please move on to the Zika virus and trumpismus and that ferry filled with women and children that’s always sinking in the Indian Ocean.

People! god’s message is simple and totally like awesome!!??  You are being tested!  Don’t get on the friggin’ ferry. OK?  Don’t catch a virus and don’t add to the sum total of the world’s trumpismus.

Which are all ways of saying the same thing.


Butterfly-Glitters-64.gifBeautiful Fluttering Butterfly Sparkly Totally Awesome??!! Thought for the day:

I could eat an entire bag of igneous rocks fresh from the volcano and still not understand people.

Or trumpiness.