Happy Thanksgiving 2017 from Dr. Dan!

Our family has made it a tradition to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving even though we live here in beautiful Alaska. We can do this because I was born and raised in Canada. That’s right, eh!? This year we celebrated on October 9th – also known as Columbus Day here in the US. We gathered friends and family and prepared and devoured all the typical fixings that would line the table for an American Thanksgiving meal! And yes! It was yummy!

For years I thought that Canadian Thanksgiving occurred earlier in the year because the harvest was earlier than that of our American neighbors. That is not true. Thanks to the internet and the article written for Time by Olivia B. Waxman I learned the following.  In 1859, Canada’s Protestant ministers began to petition the colonial government for an official day to thank God, pointing to the bountiful harvests as proof that God exists, says historian Peter A. Stevens. But over the next decade, they found a reason to be even more grateful: they were spared the bloodshed of the U.S. Civil War.

Canadian Thanksgiving started off as a solemn, holy day in the middle of the week when people would go to church,” he says, “and thank God for how fortunate they are to be Canadian.”

Ironically, Canadian families got the idea for hosting a harvest feast after reading how Americans celebrated the holiday in readily-accessible U.S. newspapers and magazines. Canadian Thanksgiving first moved to a Monday in 1908, after railways lobbied to turn it into a long weekend that could be used to visit family — by train, naturally — and that day change later became permanent.

Well, I can certainly say that I never knew any of this growing up. Thanksgiving was thanksgiving! A big dinner that brought family and friends together to celebrate and be thankful for the bounties that we’ve been blessed with. It also taught us to share and care for those who have less. This is still our tradition.

I am grateful for the great country that we live in, the extraordinary beauty of Alaska in all its magnificence and splendor. I am thankful for the sacrifice of those in our armed services that have given their lives to protect the freedoms that we enjoy. I am thankful for the opportunity and honor to serve my patients and help them have more fulfilled and healthful lives. I am thankful for the roof over our heads and for the wild game and garden veggies on our tables. And most of all I am grateful for my family, my friends and neighbors . . . and for the relationships that we share. For when it gets right down to it Thanksgiving is about that – the chance to relish in the relationships that we have forged and continue to forge with each other.


Happy Thanksgiving 2017