|Listen to: When the Snow is on the Roses|
Quite prominent in the thanksgiving toasts, besides the happiness of good health and being together, was the fact that we were able to eat a hot meal in the light and warmth of modern electricity. We had just endured a 24+ hour power outtage due to an unexpected early snowstorm. Both my mother-in-law and myself had been stuck on the highway due to an accident ahead of us (separate incidents). I ended up being towed off the highway and had to wait for someone with 4-wheel drive to take me home. People with wood stoves were able to keep warm and heat their food, but my home didn't have that luxury. At least I had phone service, as I still have a land line. People with cordless phones were suddenly incommunicado. My iPhone with 3G still worked for several hours but eventually there was no cell service either. I had never felt so isolated in my life!
|The view from my dashboard as I was being towed|
After an idyllic summer and the late arrival of Fall, Winter sprang upon us with no warning.
Here was the view from my cottage last weekend, when the temperature was around 24 degrees Celsius.
|Luckily my husband decided to pull the boat out|
Here is the same scene exactly one week later
|Note the snow covered boat and squashed willow tree from the heavy snow.|
This weather has brought me to mind of the first historical incidences of Thanksgiving in North America. It seems that survival from the harsh elements is quite a Canadian theme. Martin Frobisher, (1539-1594) was an English explorer and privateer who was looking for the Northwest Passage to by pass North America on the way to the riches of the East Indies. Of course, he was not successful, but he was so grateful to survive his third journey across the Atlantic that he celebrated a service of Thanksgiving in 1578 on Baffin Island in Canada's eastern Arctic at the bay which now bears his name.
I couldn't resist this. Can you see the resemblance?
|Sir Martin Frobisher by Cornelis Ketel, c. 1577|
|RA as Martin Frobisher|
Then in 1605 Samuel de Champlain (fondly known as the Father of New France) founded the Order of Good Cheer. It was basically a weekly feast and kitchen party that lasted all winter long. The idea was to keep everyone's spirits up and share food during the long, harsh winter at their settlement at Port-Royal in the Annapolis Valley of present day Nova Scotia.
According to Wikipedia, "no authentic portrait of Champlain is known to exist". But his likeness is usually shown as similar to the drawing on the left. I used a Face-in-Hole portrait of Rene Descartes (who is dressed in a similar fashion) for my purposes. Doesn't he seem to be in Good Cheer?
|Samuel de Champlain by Albert Descaris|
In Champlain's own words (translated from French), here is how he describes it in his diary:
We spent this winter very pleasantly, and had good food because of the Order of Good Cheer which I established. Everyone found it beneficial to his health, and better than any medicine we might have used. A chain was placed around the neck of one of our men every day. It was his job that day to go hunting. The next day the chain was given to someone else, and so on in order. Everyone competed to see who could do the best, and bring back the finest game. We did not come off badly, nor did the Indians who were with us.
|The Order of Good Cheer by C.W. Jeffreys|
Here is my wish for all of us:
May we all be warm, well fed and happily entertained
in the company of good friends and family.
And now, if you have read this far, I do thank you.
For your entertainment, here is a treat from Servetus, at Me + Richard Armitage blog.
A Collection of clips of RA saying "Thanks" by refgeek