Thanksgiving Times Two!
It’s been a while since I put a blog post together for Ordinary Wandering so we’re going to do a little catching up.
It’s Remembrance Day in Canada and we just returned from church where the youth of the church rang the church bell 100 times to mark the end of the first World War 100 years ago. Don and I got to ring the bell a few times as well – and I think we were well over 100 rings by the time everyone got a chance to pull the rope. Remembrance Day is a bigger celebration here than Veteran’s Day in the US. There are lots of events and services and everyone wears red poppies on their lapel all week. Don was a speaker at the Port Williams Community service and we met the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia and his wife who attended the service. It has been a week of remember and honoring veterans and the military and marking the passage of time since the end of WWI.
We’re well into November but I have to say that October is one of my favorite months in Nova Scotia. It is simply spectacular. We traveled to Cape Breton (the northernmost part of Nova Scotia) and did some hiking (and a lot of driving) on the Cabot Trail. The fall colours are not to be missed. This was a scouting mission and we’re planning to go back for a longer trip next fall to do some hiking and catch some of the Celtic Colours concerts. We’re also going back so Don can see a moose. We had planned to hike the Skyline Trail where you almost always see moose – but for the first time in 40 years, it was closed both days we were there. Apparently, it was mating season and the moose were getting a little aggressive with the tourists – who were getting a little intrusive trying to take selfies with the moose. So, next year. But it was a beautiful trip!
We headed to Windsor on a very cold and windy day to watch the pumpkin boat races. Yes, they hollow out real giant Atlantic pumpkins and climb in and paddle them across Lake Pesaquid – about the length of 5 football fields. We watched Canadian football with some American friends here. It’s different – there are two 50 yard lines, the field is 10 yards longer and wider, and there are lots of penalties I didn’t understand. You only get 3 downs instead of 4 to advance the ball 10 yards. And our team lost. I’ve still got a lot to learn there.
We headed into Kentville to see the pumpkin people and got a little, no a lot, soggy at the Miner’s Marsh pumpkin walk. And yes, they do trick or treating here just like the US. We had about 60 trick or treaters.
On October 8, we celebrated an international Thanksgiving at the home of our friends David and Laura Duke with friends from England, Canada, Bangladesh and the US. Well, we were the representatives from the US. In Canada, Thanksgiving is the second Monday in October. It’s a little different than Thanksgiving in the US – a little more relaxed and low-key, a lot like Canadians themselves!
Most Canadians get fewer days off for Thanksgiving – just the Monday – and the holiday doesn’t revolve around sports, a parade or shopping. No big games or marathon shopping sales. It’s a time to get together with family and friends and share a meal and conversation.
The Thanksgiving meal can be celebrated anytime during the weekend or on the Monday and usually includes turkey (although not always), root vegetables, mashed potatoes, dressing and lots of pie. You’re less likely to find sweet potato casserole, especially with marshmallows, or cornbread.
Side note: Cornmeal is one of the more difficult ingredients to find in Canadian groceries. When I asked friends about it, I got several blank looks and the question “What is that?” It took searching different stores and several tries before I found some good cornmeal. The first two brands I tried were very gritty. However, the third time was a charm and my cast iron skillet is back in the cornbread business.
Don and I also hiked Cape Split, an 8 mile hike out and back to the bluff overlooking the Bay of Fundy, on a very cold and windy October day. The view will knock your socks off, it was spectacular - but it was really cold and windy on the headland. It was hard to stand up straight against the wind! We’ll have to try that again on a slightly warmer day. And at some point I have to tell you about my trip to Joggins Fossil Cliffs. It was a busy October!
But it’s November and now that Remembrance Day is over, we can begin decorating for Christmas! Actually it’s still a little early, although some houses on our street already have Christmas lights up. One thing I love about Nova Scotia is that they believe in Christmas lights. And they put them up early and many people leave them up through the cold, dark winter. Don keeps telling me we’re not going to be those people, but he’s already lost that battle. Everyone who knows me knows I LOVE some Christmas lights. You can never have too many Christmas lights!
But we are decorating early, and it is definitely early by the Flowers’ family standards, because next week we head to Nashville for our second Thanksgiving, the American Thanksgiving, and, most importantly, for the arrival of little Baby Hollis sometime in the next weeks.
I’ll keep you posted!