This is a holiday long weekend here in Canada, so I had planned to do a Thanksgivingish good deed today, but instead I found myself at my local coffee shop this morning with another row of stamps filled in on my coffee card. Once you get to the end of a row, you show the card to the cashier to get a free coffee.
As you may recall, the last time I got to the “FREE” square at the end, I found it quite a challenge to muster up the courage to approach a stranger and offer them a free coffee. In fact, it took me a few tries.
I’d love to tell you I’ve mastered the art and now waltz in calmly and toss off the card like confetti. But no. Once again, the butterflies started to churn in my stomach as soon as I entered the shop. The patrons who usually look so nice and friendly suddenly grew into cold, giant, nasty villains in my mind. The type who would scowl at my offer and knee me in the groin.
Okay, maybe not that nasty. But as I poured my coffee, once again my hand trembled. So as I got to the cash register and considered giving the card to the person behind me, I fumbled in my wallet for it and ended up spilling coins all over the counter.
By the time I’d paid and stuffed the money back into my change purse, I’d lost my nerve.
But life does occasionally offer second chances. And thirds. So as I added cream at the sugar/milk/lid station at the back, I saw a lady pause before she proceeded up to the coffee pots at the front. She was looking into her purse as if checking to see if she had enough cash to get her order. Bingo!
Before I had time to talk myself out of it, I marched up to her, tapped her on the shoulder and quietly asked, “Would you like a free coffee?” and handed her the card. She was startled but mumbled a confused “thanks” and off I went into the night. (It was actually 8:56 a.m. but that doesn’t have the same dramatic effect, somehow.)
Why is Canadian Thanksgiving so much earlier than the U.S. Thanksgiving? I had no idea until I looked it up.
Turns out, our holiday goes back to an explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Pacific Ocean. When he returned safely in 1578, he held a formal ceremony in what is now the province of Newfoundland and Labrador to give thanks for surviving the long journey. The holiday didn’t become official, however, until January 31, 1957, when the Canadian Parliament proclaimed:
“A day of general thanksgiving to almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed… to be observed on the second Monday in October.”
Aren’t you sorry you asked?
Have a wonderful long weekend, everyone!