There’s no mistaking the bite in the air lately, nor the smell of mature crops. The birds are making different sounds – that is, the ones that are still here and haven’t moved on. It’s definitely Fall.
Thanksgiving is this weekend. Thanksgiving in my memory is family drives along Essex County’s secondary roads and fields of ripe pumpkins and harvested cornfields. Visits to indoor markets like Walker Farms where you could buy fresh apple cider, winter squash, Indian corn, preserved vegetables, fresh greenery to make seasonal wreaths.
But most of all, Thanksgiving meant the smell of turkey with stuffing and gravy, more mashed potatoes than an army could eat, pickled beets, fresh apple pie, and visits from and to my many aunts, uncles and cousins from Amherstburg to Wallaceburg and all points in between.
I’m thankful to have such memories, to live in a country where we are free to celebrate as we wish, to travel without restrictions, and to have such an abundance of good food.
Sadly, I am far away from family now, the closest being either Nanaimo or Fort St. John. Neither place would constitute a “drop in for supper” type of trip. But Thanksgiving is still a special day and involves a specially prepared meal.
I remember one such meal I cooked for myself and a friend while living in Halifax involving two turkey drumsticks, a few croutons doused with poultry seasoning and a toaster oven.
Once again, friends will join us at the table, but my Thanksgiving offering this weekend will be substantially more than a couple of drumsticks. While the cats may not be pleased that turkey appears nowhere on the menu, they will, no doubt, find a substitute that they can stuff themselves on. They’ll take whatever I put in front of them.
I am thankful for my parents and my grandparents, who taught me that food prepared as a family tastes better than anything because it’s made with love. And love can make even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread taste like a million bucks.
Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal.