Once again, I apologize for the delay in getting a new column posted. This time I have a farily good excuse -- I have been quite busy working full-time teaching music at a local high school. I'm loving every minute of it, but I still have all the other commitments I was involved in before September.
However, I am getting into the routine, and getting caught up on a few outstanding projects.
Thanks for your patience.
Thanksgiving is a time when we reflect on the many blessings in our lives: family, friends, our health, etc.
Sometimes there are things that we take for granted, that may get overlooked when we are giving thanks.
Something that strikes me, that helps me to recognize all the things that I should be thankful for — indeed, that we all should be thankful for — is hearing people complain bout what are really minor inconveniences, making them sound like they are so hard done by.
Yesterday, in the Sault, there was a power outage. It wasn’t long before local internet discussion forums were littered with comment from people blaming the PUC for allowing the infrastructure to deteriorate so badly that we have weekly power outages.
The actual cause -- later reported to be a bird that contacted and shorted out a substation feed -- was of little concern.
Another news item about a man who was drunk and disorderly outside of a west end bar drew comments about how there’s nothing to do in the Soo anyway other than get drunk and cause trouble. One poster called it “Sewer Ste Marie.”
Now, I can’t say that my glass has always been ‘half-full,’ but even at my most pessimistic I wouldn’t have even considered describing the Soo as a “sewer,” nor would I have even thought that it was a bad place to live.
Do we have problems? Certainly. I don’t know any place that doesn’t have some problems. But the problems we are facing, in general, are fairly minor.
There are places in the world where electricity is regularly shut down, or where brown-outs and black-outs are regular occurrences.
We should thankful that our electrical supply is as reliable as it is. But our thankfulness should extend beyond reliable electricity.
I am thankful that I live in a city that pretty much has everything I need — fresh air, open spaces, shopping, entertainment, education. And what it doesn’t have isn’t that far away.
I am thankful that we live in such a wonderful country. For all the political squabbling and scandals, life here in Canada really is terrific, isn’t it?
And if we don’t like what’s happening with the government, when the time comes we can vote in a free and democratic election. There won’t be armed soldiers ensuring that we are allowed to vote — nor preventing us from voting.
And you know what, we might not like the results, but they will be honest results.
I am thankful that we live in a country that freely provides education for all its children: all ages, male and female. None of our children have to fear being denied access to daily schooling — although too many of our children do not yet realize how lucky they are to have the right to attend school.
True, there are still children who don’t have the same opportunities as the majority, who attend school in, frankly, substandard conditions. But we are working toward rectifying that. And even those children do not have to fear being shot to prevent them from attending school.
I am thankful that we live in a country where our children are able to play, and be children. They do not have to work to help support their families, or worse still, to support themselves.
And while we do have children living in poverty, there is a system in place to provide assistance to them and their families..
I am thankful that we live in a country where food is so plentiful, and readily available.
Yes, at times we find prices higher than we wish to pay, but not so dear that we cannot afford to buy groceries and feed our families.
In fact, we have so much that we are, at times, wasteful of the bounty provided for us.
And even with all the waste that occurs, we have enough that we are able to send food overseas to help feed those who have none.
I am thankful we live in a country that values and provides healthcare for its citizens. While our system may not be perfect, and it does have its problems, it doesn’t bankrupt families when someone falls ill.
I am thankful that we live in a country that celebrates diversity, welcoming people of all faiths, cultures, and ethnic backgrounds.
And while there are people who do still harbour racists opinions, the overwhelming majority of Canadians acknowledge that we are all from immigrant stock, our forebears coming to this country from many countries around the world.
Whatever problems we may have, none are so bad that people are risking — and losing — their lives trying to escape.
I am thankful that we live in a country where we can attend church; and not just the church we are told to attend, but any church we choose: any denomination, or religion.
And while there are people who reject religion, and even some who speak out against religion, I am thankful that we are all free to speak out without fear of retribution.
And, I am thankful that I have the opportunity to share my celebration of Thanksgiving with you.
But... that's just my opinion.