Wherever the Road Leads

A Canadian American Thanksgiving

Christmas Season May Now Begin


Ten days ago I was on hold with Bell Canada as I had a question about my internet bill. During my wait, the music in the background was one of the more popular Toronto FM stations who, prior to American Thanksgiving even, had changed their playlist to nothing but Christmas songs. Neally bout six weeks of Christmas songs?? I’d be ready to take a hair dryer to Frosty long before December 25th if I had to endure that.

I was calling Bell Canada to confirm my billing period as I had received an emailed bill and was unsure. Bell Canada, like many businesses in Canada most probably, charges a $2 premium if you need to have a paper bill mailed to you. At first I thought it was simply another cash-grab by a corporation. However when I was up in Canada last winter I learned the hard way when I wanted to send a post card to an American friend.

I went to a Dollar Store and paid 30¢ for a post card depicting a Canadian scene. I then went to the Post Office and was astounded to learn that it was going to cost me $1.25 for a stamp. I was stunned. I asked the clerk, “A buck and a quarter to mail a thirty cent post card? Ahmoan have to think about that,” I took back my post card and walked away. It will cost Bell Canada 78¢ to mail me a bill domestically. I don’t blame them for charging the premium.

I needed my billing period confirmed to be able to keep an eye on my internet usage. My plan includes 100 gig monthly. Now, to the normal tablet-using, FaceBook-and-email-checking individual, 100 gig might last a lifetime. But to those a little more savvy to what is available on the internet much to the chagrin of Hollywood, those individuals need to know how close they are getting to where Bell Canada can charge for overages.

My mother, still bed-ridden for the most part, has been enjoying a number of movies. We – well, I –  started on a Lana Turner theme as she has to be one of the most beautiful women, ever. Jimmy Stewart, Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, Doris Day, “An Affair to Remember” and “Imitation of Life”, as well as Midsomers Mysteries, Foyle’s War and Blue Bloods have all contributed to my download aggregate for the month. I am very close to my 100gig with three days left.

I was thinking of appealing to Bell Canada on ‘humanitarian’ reasons as these movies are to aid my frail mother recuperate. Perhaps they’d  grant me an exemption… you reckon?? Right. Anyway, listening to “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” when I arrived too late to enjoy Canadian Thanksgiving, yet arrived too early to enjoy American Thanksgiving, I was crying, “Poor me.” Then it came to me.

Shortly after it was suggested – by an American friend who shall remain nameless except to mention that her initials are Deborah Knight and I did eventually pony up the buck and a quarter for her post card’s postage stamp – that I buy a rotisserie chicken, some green beans, a store-bought apple pie and some ice cream, plus cutting up some potatoes small, covering them in Italian dressing and ‘roasting’ them in the toaster oven, I had a brain storm.

Why don’t I have my own Thanksgiving? I could buy a rotisserie chicken, some green beans, a store-bought apple pie and some ice cream, plus cut up some potatoes small, cover them in Italian dressing and ‘roast’ them in the toaster oven. An American Thanksgiving in Canada. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by my own brilliance.

After getting the recipe for her Southern green beans, off I journeyed to Metro, a grocery store that can’t be afforded under normal circumstances, however rotisserie chickens are not to be had at the discount grocery stores. I got the rotisserie chicken, a box of Stove-Top stuffing, a can of chicken broth to simmer the green beans in, a can of St. Hubert spiced chicken gravy and a $9.00 store-brand apple crumble pie – the pie and the chicken cost the same – that seemed expensive to me but I was saving a nickle or two as I had brought my own plastic grocery bags so did not need to purchase any as I checked out.

(Don’t even get me started on how the Toronto municipal government has managed to change plastic grocery bags from a grocery store’s expense item, into a store revenue stream.)

The only slight hitch that I had was that the potatoes – cut small, covered with Italian dressing and ‘roasting’ in the toaster oven – took too long. Lord knows I’m a patient man but dinner should take no more than thirty minutes to prepare from the time the toaster oven is turned on and the potato peeler is lifted. One great thing about Canada is electric tea kettles. As the potatoes – for mashed potatoes – are being peeled, the water is boiling. Then, pour boiling water into the saucepan over the raw potatoes so that the stove element has a running start.

The instructions were to simmer the green beans until the broth had all but dissipated. Right. This was Thanksgiving dinner I was preparing, not Christmas, so the beans were given as long as I could spare. Next time, I’ll par boil the ‘taters, he’p speed them up a tad.

My brilliant idea came together magnificently, I say with all the modesty I can muster. The apple pie was slipped into the toaster oven when the roasted potatoes finally had the decency to get themselves cooked enough not to damage a tooth. My mother wanted only essence of ice cream over her slice of pie, leaving all the more for me. Afterwards, we patted our bellies and wondered what the poor people were doing.

Let the Christmas carols begin.

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  1. elayne  December 4, 2014

    for future reference Gordon, I pre-cook the potatoes for 5 minutes on high in the microwave and then season them and throw them in the oven to brown while the meat or fowl cooks . This is especially helpful when the M&M chateaubriand only takes 15-20 minutes to cook in the oven. That with the roast potatoes, yorkshire puffs, gravy for Fred and Bernaise sauce for me, and veggies of some sort is our New Year’s Eve traditional dinner. Of course there may be the occasional libation as well. Thanks for the blog . I am glad your mother is doing better and you are settling in as best you can..

  2. Deborah Knight  December 4, 2014

    So glad that you listened to MY IDEA about having an American Thanksgiving in Canada, and that you and your mother enjoyed it. You might want to consider other suggestions that your American friend might make…………they may be good ones as well! LOL

  3. Janice  December 4, 2014

    Swiss Chalet has a festival special that includes stuffing, cranberries, potatoes and dessert!

  4. Mike G  December 9, 2014

    WOW Gordon. Only 100 gig??? That wouldnt last long. You are a very strong willed man!
    I switched from Comcast and their 250 gig limit to AT&T and their unlimited data. Both are horrible when it comes to talking about the ever changing rates, but unlimited, and half the price.


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