Due to a longstanding familial obligation involving my birth and raising, Karla and I are once again making our annual trek to sun-dappled, palm-shaded Ontario, Canada for Canadian Thanksgiving. In truth I’m looking forward to it. Getting from Seattle, Washington to Kingston, Ontario is, granted, something of a day-long plane-and-train nightmare; but once we actually arrive, and get a chance to take in the multi-colored splendor of an Ontario autumn, I’m sure we’ll be glad we invested the time, at least for a good twenty minutes, until the novelty of dry orange leaves wears off and we realize we’re still in Kingston, Ontario for some reason.
In prior years, my American friends’ perplexed expressions at the idea that Canada might have its own Thanksgiving — “What do you have to be thankful for?” “You just stole it from us, didn’t you?” “Why is it in October? Is it because you guys are idiots?” — led to heated debate and explanation. This year I’m better prepared, and have so far managed to cut the hataz off at the pass with a curt “We have our harvest earlier in Canada because of the weather,” and if necessary, “We have plenty to be thankful for in Canada! Having a great neighbor like America, for instance!” and “Yes, we probably stole it from you. Is that firearm loaded? You got it at Wal-Mart, did you? Fantastic!”
Yes, this year I know what I’m doing, and in fact only two things have managed to catch me with my metaphorical pants around my ankles: that we told my parents some months ago we’d quit smoking (we had), but haven’t told them that we’ve since backslid and started back up again; and that the Canadian dollar is now actually worth more than its American counterpart for the first time in years. This in particular is cause for Yosemite Sam grumbling on my part, since I’d intended to pay off the last of the money my parents lent me years ago to get several bossy student loan collection agencies from phoning me every half hour (”Got the money yet? How about now? Is it cool if we come over and search your apartment?”) Realizing that if I’d settled up four years ago I could have paid 60 cents on the dollar is, I’m sure you can imagine, akin to finding a rented DVD under a couch cushion that you could have sworn you’d returned weeks ago, except with several extra zeros at the end. Luckily, it looks like they’re throwing in a big turkey dinner, possibly to “sweeten the deal,” so while I’ll be returning to Seattle significantly poorer, I’ll at least be fatter, a big plus in the realm of poverty.
Well, we’re off. Keep it real, America! Don’t touch my stuff while I’m gone!