Posts Tagged ‘Martin Frobisher’

Malignant materialism: Black vs. Plaid Friday

November 26, 2018

Thanksgiving? Not all that you’ve heard

And the turkey’s a much larger bird

A gift for your grad?

For Friday’s now plaid.

For the local business assured.

Synopsis: I’m a Family Practitioner from Sioux City, Iowa. In 2010 I danced back from the brink of burnout, and honoring a 1 year non-compete clause, traveled and worked in out-of-the-way places in Alaska, Nebraska, Iowa, and New Zealand. I followed 3 years Community Health Center work with a return to traveling and adventures in temporary positions in Alaska, rural Iowa, suburban Pennsylvania, western Nebraska and northern British Columbia. I have returned to Canada now for the 4th time.  Any identifiable patient information has been included with permission.

Canada celebrates Thanksgiving the second Monday of October. Feasts commonly include turkey, squash, vegetables, and apple pie; regional variations include salmon, wild game, Brussels sprouts, wild rice, unique local foods, and what Americans know as New England boiled dinner.

The narrative of the Canadian First Thanksgiving has to do with Martin Frobisher’s successful landing with more than a dozen ships on Baffin Island.

The US Thanksgiving holiday comes the third Thursday of November. The common story of the first Thanksgiving includes the Pilgrims inviting the Wampanoag to a meal celebrating the first corn harvest.

Not surprisingly, the Wampanoag tell a different story that sounds more likely, having to do with irresponsible celebratory gunfire, checking the wellbeing of the vulnerable English, and fishing and hunting in the process. Particularly ducks, geese, turkeys, and deer.

Deer haven’t changed but turkeys have. Since 1950, average slaughter weight has more than doubled, from 13 to 29 lb.

The holiday itself has morphed with the times; religion, hunting and gunfire for the most part have dropped away, replaced by a prolonged, sedentary feast followed by a commercial feeding frenzy. All with a prolonged football binge.

Canadians, like their southern neighbors, kick off their big retail season with the day after American Thanksgiving, calling it Black Friday.

I went to work this year when my friends and relatives in America went out of their way for arguably the biggest meal of the year.

I found it a day to be thankful, without overeating. A hospital patient went home.  I got along with my wife, my colleagues, my patients, and my co-workers.  I walked from a decent dwelling to a decent work place without fear for my physical safety.   I got to see patients improving, and I witnessed the miracle of more addicts coming to insight.

The next day my arrival in clinic started with an accusatory, “Where’s your plaid?”

“P-plaid?” I asked, noting the surrounding tonsorial color scheme indeed dominated by plaid.

Plaid Friday, they told me, celebrates buying locally.

I shrugged. I don’t own anything plaid in Canada.  My general abhorrence of malignant materialism, combined with hundreds of snow-packed kilometers between me and the nearest Wal-Mart made supporting Plaid Friday easy.

Finding myself on call till 6:00PM qualified as the biggest surprise.