shellfish thanks

Nearly 15 years ago I found myself single for the first time since I was a teenager ... a good buddy and I ended up having a Thanksgiving at a roadside truck stop where Willa, a complete stranger, posed with me for my holiday card–things only pound puppies can appreciate.
Nearly 15 years ago I found myself single for the first time since I was a teenager … a good buddy and I ended up having Thanksgiving at a roadside truck stop where Willa the waitress–a complete stranger–posed with me for Christmas an xmas card I had printed that year–something only pound puppies and vagabonds like me can appreciate I suppose.

I almost licked the bowl after finishing my Thanksgiving clam chowder. I took a friend’s advice and decided to just be Canadian this, my first Thanksgiving alone–and on my own–while living over the border.

The calamari just arrived. Made in-house at the Clam Bucket in Port Alberni. I resisted anything turkey and went with what my gut usually cries for anytime I’m near the sea: fish.

Clam, Oyster, Salmon, Cod. I love all seafood. Sushi is candy. Shellfish, mystically delicious. How the fuck can things so unappetising in appearance appeal so much to my palate?

Oh, fish tacos coming next. I couldn’t finish the squid, it was too much, too delicious and although I’m capable of eating more, I need a little variety in my all-seafood fare this evening.

I’ve spent my first month on the island, on the boat and all is mildly wet and still well. I’m continuously amazed at the pleasant nature of the Canadian friends I’m making and I’m impressed with their environmental, social and political mindfulness. Their graciousness towards me is truly overwhelming. People I barely know are offering me meals, drinks, joints, and helpful information daily.

There’s no question I feel at home here, despite being alone on what has normally been one of my favorite holidays.

But I’m also thankful for those friends and chosen family I’ve left this holiday season. I miss them all, but despite many changes and challenges in my world, this has still been one of the best years of my life. I completed a year-long remodel; lost 40 pounds; visited B.C. twice before moving here to my sailboat abode and now live in one of the most beautiful, magical places on the planet … what’s not to be thankful for?

For the past 15 years I’ve become accustomed to unconventional holidays. I’ve dined this day at Texaco truck-stops; had steam table turkey at bad hotels; and choked down dried-out stuffing at the homes of estranged relatives and peripheral friends who threatened to adopt me for a few hours. I’ve also ministered to the elderly; worked with the homeless on the streets; fed friends, lovers and strangers for Thanksgiving dinner; and now for the first time, I’m alone this day. 

The food at the ‘bucket was good. The waitress lovely. The wine is kicking in and I’ve got an hour’s drive back to the boat. If the reindeer prancing all around this island can hold off from  crossing my path on the way back I’ll be even more grateful.

No one needs feel sad for me. It’s a nice reprieve actually to forgo all the drama I typically take in this day. In years past, I’ve had tragic, heartbreaking times involving death; car wrecks; hangovers; and several broken hearts.  Once, I went as far as to shot-put  a burnt turkey carcass at an angry girlfriend. She was past drunk and I was past nice about it. She pointed out what a small dick mother fucker I was for not liking her gravy and in turn, I hurled the bird at her as she exited the door in a profane frenzy.

Hallmark doesn’t make cards for such occasions. Just saying, it’s not always such a wonderful life we live.

But, I’ve a wealth of chosen family, and they know, love and understand me and what I’m doing. I don’t need the world to be my friend, just the right ones. If you’re someone I love, you’ll know this is written with you in mind.

some family we’re born with
some family we choose
some we’ve not loved well
well, they’re ones we lose
some are Italian
yes I’m talking to you’z
some are from Portland, Pittsburg, Peru
one thing I know
one thing so true
I choose whom I love
when I find family like you