Kuehl Family

I have vivid memories as a child of special occasions when our family would prepare and celebrate events.  One that was always a special day was Thanksgiving.  I can recall waking in the morning to the sounds of my mom busily working in the kitchen in preparation for her five course, five star dinner.  Later in the day the aroma of farm fresh turkey roasting, blended with baked pumpkin and apple pie (mom always believed in choice) with yams, parsnips, potatoes and carrots roasting in the oven.

As we waited for the evening meal to be prepared we had a tradition of raking up leaves from the green space behind our family home and gathering the leaves into tree high piles suitable for jumping into and absorbing youthful energy while generating that unmistakable smell of autumn leaves.

Dad died last year with an all too brief but valiant fight with cancer.  Today as I hold one of his watches I can see the inscription that he placed there many years ago.  Just four simple words: Faith, Family, Friends, Fun.  These were the simple things that Dad was thankful for.

I could always tell when it was time to move to the dining room.  As the aroma from the kitchen reached a crescendo, guests would arrive, usually extended family.  As a child seated at the table truly set for a King, I could see the steam rise and mingle with the delicious aroma wafting up from the table against the back drop of autumn colors.  Every eye was fixed on the roasted tom turkey and the carving tools handed to my dad made us all more anxious to fill our plates and our rumbling tummies.

Every year at a point when his audience had their interest peaked anticipating digging into a King’s meal, Dad would always with a wry smile pause, and look at each of us and ask, “before we begin, we need to stop and share a memory with one another of what we are truly thankful for”.  Around the table, person by person we shared.  We heard about family, old and new friendships, health, business success, travel and usually something about the pending hockey season and the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Dad would always end with what would become a focus of his life.  He shared that he was grateful for faith that he had in others that enabled him to live outside of himself, for family whom he loved and he knew loved him, for friends who he could share his life with and for fun that we all could have together.  He would always end with “and for these things this Thanksgiving day, I am truly grateful”.

Dad

Dad died last year with an all too brief but valiant fight with cancer.  Today as I hold one of his watches I can see the inscription that he placed there many years ago.  Just four simple words: Faith, Family, Friends, Fun.  These were the simple things that Dad was thankful for.

This thanksgiving season will be very different for me.  Although the menu will be the same, the table will seem very different.  And it now falls to me to pose the question “So friends, what are you thankful for this year?”  I would enjoy hearing your Thanksgiving response to Dad’s question.

In a world that often seems too busy. In a cityscape where we feel more comfort in being unknown than known.  In an economic time where we spend more time focusing on what we don’t have rather than what we do have.  Now perhaps more than ever we really need that question in our lives.  What are you truly thankful for this thanksgiving season?  I would love to hear your thoughts.