My daughter and I spent Thanksgiving together, so she searched for a place in a small town where we could eat turkey outside on a patio practicing safe social distancing during this pandemic. Her research led us to making a reservation in Elora, famous for its “gorge” and beautiful, historic setting. We were not disappointed with the set-up for the nine tables and the turkey dinner itself. It was a cool but very sunny mid-afternoon and despite this terrible year it was a time of beauty and pleasure in a safe and healthy environment.
Partway through our meal we began to realize that we were not the only “tourists” on the patio. One table was a lively group of people originally from the Philippines, while another was a quite mixed-race couple. Other tables were also people clearly not from Elora. One group consisted of two tables with eight people at each table with men at one table and women at another. They were of Middle Eastern descent and seemed to be a family group. While we were enjoying our pumpkin pie an very large birthday cake was brought out for one of the Middle Eastern women.
Once the candles were re-lit the table of Filipinos began to sing “happy birthday”. Other tables joined in singing and clapping to congratulate this stranger who was celebrating her birthday. As the cake was being served at their two tables conversation returned to the individual tables of all present. Until that is the son of the woman whose birthday it was began to take cake to each of the tables around them! Having just commented after our pumpkin pie that we felt satisfied but not stuffed my daughter and I looked at the two slices of cake in disbelief! Courtesy required us to eat it of course and we did—only to discover that it was perhaps the best chocolate cake we had ever eaten! Was it the flavour? Yes. Was it the generosity and company of strangers? YES!!
What more fitting example of Thanksgiving could there be in Canada but the exchange of good wishes and thanks between people who did not know one another? The food was awesome, the setting quite beautiful, but it was the people that made this a truly Canadian thanksgiving.