This coming long weekend will bring with it Thanksgiving.
A magical time where we all come together as families to enjoy each other's company, take all kinds of pictures, and gorge on probably way too much turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.
(Oh, let's get real, is there even such a thing as too much of that good stuff?)
Personally, I've never really put too much emphasis on Thanksgiving as it relates to the actual holiday itself. When I was a kid, it was just another long weekend, only we got to eat turkey and see some family. Hey, that'll get two thumbs up from me every time.
However, this year will be different because this year already IS different. The woman who I'm most thankful for is no longer with us, so with that, it already forms something of a cloud over this particular day. But if there's anything that I've been reminded of this year, whether it be through trial or heartache, it's that life doesn't stop and it's up to you to make it count where it counts. That's all any of us can do, right?
With that, I thought I would take the time to think about the people in my life and the things I enjoy about my life and try to explain why I'm thankful for them. It's a little sappy, I know, but it's what I'm feeling right now and I learned a long time ago that when it comes to this column space, the best instinct is to follow your gut and just say whatever it is you're feeling in any given week. Give readers anything else and you're just giving them hollow words and phrases in order to fill space.
I'm thankful for my family. This is an obvious given, but I'd be remiss if I didn't try to explain how important each and every one of them are, especially right now in my life. I'm thankful for my brothers Perry and Brendon, who have been absolute treasures as we've all tried to maneuver our way forward in the last six months since Mom passed away. They've been sounding boards for me and vice versa, and it blows me away that at this point in our lives, we're three grown men at various stages in our 30's. What the hell happened to the same two guys who I used to play-wrestle with, get into ridiculous fights with, and get into childish mischief? Whatever the case may be, we're three grown men who've had to say goodbye to both of our parents in the last eight years. From that, all we can do is move forward, and I like to think we're succeeding. I'm also incredibly thankful for the rest of my family, because I know they'd find a way to move mountains and go to Hell and back for any one of us. That's a kind of closeness that some families only dream of, and I don't take that for granted. We're a big, loving, spread-out-far-and-wide group of people, and we've always found a way to move those mountains and come together when it was time. For that, who could ask for anything more?
I'm thankful for this job. Very much so. Granted, it isn't the type where you're going to get rich by any means, but it's been so very satisfying in different ways. Next March on the 27th will mark 15 years since I started here, and there have been so many things I've seen and so many things I've written about that it boggles my mind. I was there on Election Night as the Saskatchewan Party first came into office. I was there for the grand opening of so many different businesses in so many different communities that to count them would be an exercise in futility. I was there for so many various 'slice of life' stories that put a spotlight on the unique and talented people who make up this part of the world. To this day, it's a job that I love because one can get temporarily lost in it. When I'm there on the sidelines with my camera as a football player comes barreling downfield, or when I'm attending a meeting and feverishly jotting notes about an issue important to a certain community, or when I'm interviewing interesting and engaging people of all backgrounds, I'm not thinking about bills that have to be paid or what to make for supper that night. I'm doing my best to stay in the moment because that's how I do my best work.
I'm thankful for my friends. All I can do is sit back, smile and snicker at the fact that if my life had turned out a different way, I wouldn't even know Kyle, Chris and Alex to this day. After all, it was having to repeat the eighth grade back in the fall of '99 that introduced me to these three gentlemen. Don't get me wrong, we weren't best buds right off the bat by any stretch as there was something of a feeling-out period where strangers - young strangers, remember - had to find a few things in common that provided a road to getting to know each other better. I can sit here and tell you that 22 years later, I'm glad we found that road and that we found each other. Life has taken us in different directions here and there, but we've maintained a strong connection and for that, I'll always be grateful. To me, they're family, blood or no blood.
There are probably about a thousand other things I could divulge into and explain why I'm thankful for them, but I'll end it for now. This weekend, I plan to eat some turkey and some pie with my family, and although it will feel much different than in all the Thanksgivings that have passed, I'll smile and be grateful to enjoy the people around me.
I hope you do too.
For this week, that's been the Ruttle Report.