Even in tough times Thanksgiving is a time to express gratitude

This year’s traditional Thanksgiving holiday will be unlike any other we’ve experienced in our lifetimes.

For the past six months or so, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned our lives upside down. The economy has struggled. Jobs have been lost and people are under a tremendous amount of stress.

But Thanksgiving, which comes around every year and this year is October 12, reminds us to look on the more positive side of life – to express gratitude, thanks and appreciation for what people in fact do have and to count their blessings.

As people come together during the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend to celebrate with family and friends, over big meals, they reflect on the things in their lives they can be grateful for despite all the chaos that may be happening in the world around them.

We spoke with four realtors from the RE/MAX Real Estate (Central) office in Calgary about how they will celebrate the Thanksgiving weekend, what their favourite thing is about the holiday and what they are thankful for today.

Debbie Ferguson

Thanksgiving reminds Ferguson of what she is thankful for. Three years ago she had a stroke and lost all her speech.

“I literally went from not being able to talk at all to just my name. I did nine months of speech therapy. I was in the hospital for six weeks. I had to have someone look after my business because I was really busy,” she said.

“I’m really up to about 95 per cent. Most people don’t know unless I tell them . . . What I’m most thankful for is my health and the fact that I’ve done so well. I’m so determined. I’m thankful for what I can do.”

Thanksgiving is celebrated primarily with her immediate family. That tradition involves a “really nice dinner, not always turkey.”

Ferguson’s birthday usually falls around Thanksgiving Day making the time an even more special time.

She has been with Central for 21 years.

Amy Flemmer

Flemmer said there is always something to be grateful for.

“I always go back to my family. I have three siblings and my husband and his family as well. Just being able to be surrounded by a tight-knit family is probably my biggest gratitude this year.”

Flemmer has been with Central for about five years. She’s been a licenced realtor since 2012.

She typically celebrates Thanksgiving with her family and her favourite thing about this time of the year is just spending quality time with family.

“So going out to different farm yards and getting to pick out pumpkins with my niece and my nephew. The fall leaves. I really enjoy the colours and getting out to the mountains and enjoying nature while it’s changing.”

John Bitonti

Bitonti is grateful this year for his clients. “They’ve been very good about coming back and there were a lot of good clients that came into the market this year. I’m really happy for that.”

“I’m also thankful for good health and for the family and all my colleagues. You get to see them once in a while. It’s nice to see them and be thankful that they’re all safe.”

Bitonti has been with Central since 1997 and he’s been a realtor for 30 years.

Thanksgiving is always a big family event for Bitonti. Being Italian, there’s always lots of food at the dinner table. Turkey is definitely the main event but there will be different Italian dishes added to the dinner.

His favourite thing about this time of the year is the getting together with family and of course the great food.

“It’s nice to sit down with the family. Usually about 20 people and have a full day of enjoying each other and enjoying the food.”

Scott Brayshaw

“I’m thankful and grateful for abundance, having the means of looking after my family and having a happy Thanksgiving and not having to struggle financially,” said Brayshaw.

For Brayshaw, the typical Thanksgiving weekend includes getting together with his and his wife’s families. 

“I like turkey and ham and cabbage rolls,” said Brayshaw, who has been with Central since 2012 when he became a realtor. 

But Brayshaw said Thanksgiving for some people this year may be a lonely one due to the pandemic and the restrictions in place.

Whatever your plans are for Thanksgiving, RE/MAX Real Estate (Central) is wishing everyone a very happy and healthy holiday.