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Tuesday, 04 October 2016 19:51

Have a colourful, active Thanksgiving

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By John Bird, editor

            When I was a child, my family often used to spend Thanksgiving with my aunt, uncle and cousins at their home in Lachute, Quebec, on the edge of the Laurentians.

            It was a lot of work for all the adults involved. On the one side, the packing and long evening drive from Whitby to Lachute after dad got off work on Saturday—then back on Monday evening so he could start work again Tuesday morning.

            On the other side, the endless

food preparation for that grand, extended-family meal—and making up extra beds in all corners of the house.

            We loved those weekends—playing with our always-entertaining cousins in a house that seemed made for hide-and-seek. Singing, storytelling, marathon family card and board games.

            There was a wonderful feeling of welcome, acceptance and safety, for which I’m eternally grateful.

            And of course, the food—the turkey, the gravy, the stuffing, the pumpkin and apple pies.

            I miss those wonderful days of family fun and childhood freedom. But the older I get, the more I come to dread holidays like Thanksgiving. Too much food and too little exercise—which takes an increasing toll on my aging body.

            It feels like each Thanksgiving weekend takes a year off my life. I can feel the cholesterol forming around my heart.

            What to do?

            The answer lies in what was my favourite activity of those long-ago Thanksgivings in Lachute—the Sunday afternoon walks up the mountain.

            Invariably I remember bluebird skies and the flaming sugar maples of autumn, for which the Laurentians are so justly famous. It was a steep climb, definitely good for the body, and to counteract all that rich food.

            And lots of opportunity for my father and uncle to impart their surprising stock of woods lore.

            I give thanks, too, for those walks in that wonderful creation.

            Only trouble was, the mothers rarely got to go. Too busy in the kitchen.

            So my Thanksgiving resolution this year is to do my best to cut back on the rich foods, free up the kitchen workers by sharing an already-lightened load, and try to make sure we all get some of that wonderful fall fresh air and exercise.

            I only hope it doesn’t rain.


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