Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Thanks!- giving Music.

It's true that there really isn't that much in the way of music for the occasion of Thanksgiving. And because Canadian Thanksgiving comes more than a month earlier than the U.S. version, there's even less time to prepare.
Long forgotten among the songs of the occasions, Thanksgiving is an (almost) entirely North American tradition and because of that, it hasn't had the sort of international recognition that would cause large portions of the world to want to sit down and write songs about the occasion. At least, that's the excuse that's usually given. Frankly, I think the real reason there aren't hundreds of good Thanksgiving songs is because the food is just too good. Who can think of writing a song when they can smell a large delicious Turkey roasting in the oven? Just picture your relatives and loved ones sitting around the piano thinking of something to sing about; Even the most musicaly-inclined family all putting their heads together to write that one special song that would top off a great occasion. Dad or grandma taps a few keys on the piano and says: "What we need is something joyful and exuberant, but still meaningful and singable and spiritual...and...oh wait...I smell something... is that pumpkin pie ready? Um, yeah...Take off, bitches. We'll try again next year."
So let's think of some music that might be in the spirit of the occasion, rather than specific to Thanksgiving. The truth is that there are many songs about gratitude and giving thanks and saying thank you out there and they are perfectly suitable for this occasion.
Sam and Dave put out a song in 1968 simply titled "I Thank You" and the lyrics remind us of a person, in this case a woman, who didn't have to do any of the things she did, but she did. So this Thanksgiving, the first thanks has to go to the people who made the dinner. Usually, in most families this means Mom or Grandma, but sometimes Grandma can get a little too weak to do it all by herself like she used to, so a second thanks goes to those who help and also help to clean up all the dishes afterwards.

 Thanksgiving, along with other occasions when the family gets together can be a stressful time. But it doesn't have to be. Usually there's one or two people in any gathering that seem to be able to break the ice and loosen up the mood a bit. Usually those people are the fun-loving and more relaxed people that are in your family, but you don't get to see very often. Sometimes board games or video games or movies that the whole family can watch are needed to relieve the tension or boredom of the gathering. Sometimes the people you need are named Johnny Walker or Ron de Cuba and they've been waiting in your cupboard for just this occasion. This year, however, we can listen to that other family, namely Sly and the Family Stone and be thankful for our families falletin us be ours elves again.

Alanis Morissette reminds us that sometimes you have to be thankful for the little things, like getting off the antibiotics or not blaming someone for everything.Although maybe the part where she thanks India could be converted to Indians or Indigenous peoples for just this occasion.
   And this would be the perfect time to discuss why the U.S. and Canadian thanksgiving are on different days. The reasons is simple. While both are based on the idea  of a feast celebrating the harvest, the U.S. Thanksgiving is actually linked to a specific historical feast that involved the pilgrims at the Plymouth Plantation and the tribal natives that dates back to 1621, while the Canadian thanksgiving is based on celebratory feasts of the 'Order of Good Cheer' of French settlers who came to Canada with the explorer Samuel de Champlain  in the early 17th century. The traditional foods of Turkey, squash and cranberries are believed to have been adopted throughout the celebrating regions since the American Revolution with the help of Loyalists that fled the U.S. to Canada.
    And finally, I have to thank YOU!! Yes, those of you who read this blog, surprisingly have run up over two thousand and one hundred hits to a blog that I've only been keeping up bi-weekly-ish for about six months. Despite morbid, overly-complicated and sometimes off-colour and uncomfortable topics, someone out there keeps coming back for more and not all of those people are NSA agents, though I'm sure some are (Gee! Had I known i would have bombed under the pressure!)
   Thanks again and Happy Thanksgiving!!