Photo Description: Three maple leaves one brown, one yellow and one red are placed over the words “Happy Thanksgiving. Credit: This work was found on the internet here: https://dayslee.ca/2017/10/07/happy-thanksgiving-day-canada/

Today we vote.

The advance polls open just a little after breakfast time. Joe and I are away, in Edmonton, on the day of the election so we’ve planned to get in the car and drive over to the center and mark our ballot.

Those who know us, and even many who don’t, know how we are voting. We have one of those lawn signs in front of our place, and in a mammoth tribute to our neighbour’s practice of diversity (for isn’t diversity something that is done?), there isn’t a single mark on it.

But that doesn’t matter here. What matters is that, on Thanksgiving Sunday, we are given the privilege of voting. Of participating in the responsibilities of citizenship. Of raising our voice in regards to the direction we want to see our nation take.

I remember our neighbour Tess. An American citizen who lived most of her life in Canada. Near-death, she decided to become a Canadian. Shortly after she went through a process, sped up because of the circumstances of her health, and became Canadian, a Federal Election was called. On voting day she was carried out of her apartment on a stretcher. The poll was in the lobby of our apartment building and she made them stop so she could get a ballot and vote. All while laying on the stretcher.

She wanted to become a Canadian to honour the life that she had lived in this country, she wanted to vote because she wanted to be counted, at least one more time, before she died.

I remember speaking to my father, him too in a hospital bed, about the war years and listen to him, for the first time, tell stories of the war. My father was not a man to ever show pride in accomplishments, but pride did slip into his voice as he spoke of being one small man in one great big war. He had served his country and that mattered to him. He was quietly proud of his grandson, my nephew, who also serves.

He and my nephew served and serve this country, keeping us safe and free.

And all that’s asked of me is that I vote.

And I will, in a few hours, in Thanksgiving for the freedom on this day of giving thanks.

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