I was perplexed by Reader’s Digest’s 66 reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving. Many of their reasons seem to be way off my way of thinking. One of the prime reasons why people are so discontent with life is that they are not appreciating the things that we already have. We have so much to be thankful for.
The popular little digest’s Number 1 reason to be thankful is Families, which most of us can agree with.
Their Number 2 is Carbs, which is really odd. They want us to feel good about overeating that one special day of the year.
Their reasoning: “Thanks to bread, stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, and pie, Thanksgiving is basically the High Carb Holiday. Carbs get a bad rap sometimes, but they certainly have a place in your diet, and today is the day to enjoy them — guilt free.”
Number 3. A sense of humour.
Number 4. Crunchy, colourful, fragrant piles of leaves. I’d say that’s weird.
Number 5 is Pets.
Your Best Friend is another surprise and down on the list at Number 13.
Your Health is way down at Number 28. I would put that at the very top of the list. Reader’s Digest says: “If ever there was a time to be grateful for your health, it is now. If you’ve been lucky enough to avoid contracting COVID-19, you’ve been lucky enough.”
Work is down at Number 65, which doesn’t make any sense. And last on the list at Number 66 is Gratitude, which is also unbelievable because Thanksgiving is all about gratitude. They say: “Practicing gratitude can ward off depression, lower blood pressure, ameliorate anxiety, and even increase your life span.”
Another list of things to be thankful for that I saw somewhere was more to my liking. 1st: Sense of safety. 2nd: Good health. 3rd: Faithful family. 4th: Strong friendship. 5th: Loving animals. 6th: Jobs and work. 7th: Place to call home.
Thanksgiving Day is my favourite holiday because it focuses on all things positive, free of materialistic motivations such as mindless gift-giving, which has gone out of control at Christmas.
Thanksgiving is a reminder to appreciate all that’s joyful in our life, which includes family, friends, colleagues; as well as our lifestyle, our faith as Christians, our jobs or work, the food we eat, the travel we can do and good health.
Good health is at the top of my list. For the past eight years I have been a diabetic and I have high blood pressure. But thanks to my doctor and the daily medication I take, I lead a normal life. I still farm and do digging and land clearing with my excavator and backhoe, something I love doing. I also operate a firewood business and a rental storage for motorboats, RVs and vehicles. Being busy and active in the outdoors is a healthy lifestyle. I sleep soundly most nights and have never taken a sleeping pill or sleeping aid of any kind. Those are things I’m very thankful for.
I have always had incredible eyesight and that hasn’t changed over the years. Three farms over from my farm is a highway (The Stone Road) and I can see vehicles moving along and I can tell if it’s a car or a truck.
My doctor has me going to an eye specialist every year now since I turned 65. Every year the specialist tells me I have 20/20 vision. Last month I again read all the smallest letters on the screen. I told the doctor that a buddy of mine likes to razz me that I can’t have 20/20 vision because some places in the field I have a space of a foot between when planting the soybeans or I missed pulling some weeds in the garden. I asked the doctor if he could write a note stating my good vision so I could frame it. He wrote on his note pad that I have 20/20 vision in both eyes and he signed it.
I framed it and showed it to my buddy who grinned sheepishly.
I’m also thankful for not having any addictions. Being addicted to tobacco or alcohol would be a terrible way to spend a life.
Back in 1970, at the age of 21, I quit a construction job and decided to farm full time with my father. That was a good move, which I never regretted. I was fed up working in an environment where the talk was about boozing and the salty language was getting to me. And back then the F-word wasn’t used yet.
My advice to you, thank the Lord every day for all the blessings you receive.
Maynard van der Galien is a Renfrew-area farmer and a long-time columnist with Farmers Forum.