Long ago, and far away, a brave cadre of adventuring souls set out in wooden ships (OSB, I believe) in search of a good excuse to have a long weekend.
As fate would have it, after many days and many nights bravely sallying forth on the stormy seas, their mighty plywood ships wrecked on a rather large rock.
The wet and weary travellers christened the newly found rock “New Found Rock,” which was later changed to “Newfoundland and Labrador,” because it looked more impressive on government documents.
Our dauntless voyagers wanted to call themselves “Pilgrims,” but that moniker was already taken by someone in the United States, so they turned to their fearless leaders, John Pie and Mary Ears, and dubbed themselves “Pie And Ears,” which their secretary, inadvertently creating a new word, mistakenly recorded as “Pioneers.”
The intrepid pioneers wore unusual garb made even more distinctive by their chapeaus, which they called hats. These unusual head garments consisted of a tall black headpiece with a broad rim for the men, who thought it stylish to also add their large square metal belt buckles on the front of their hats, which often caused their pants to fall down at inopportune times.
The women wisely wore bonnets. Also wisely, petticoats.
The pioneers, after becoming satiated with lobster, cod cheeks and a rather potent beverage called screech, sallied forth to a place called “Ka Beck,” whereupon they learned to swear in French and smoke cigarettes.
There, they soon invented something called poutine, due to their penchant for putting melted cheese on absolutely everything.
Always searching, they sallied again to what they called the “Big Smoke,” because of the smoke. Here, they invented hockey and named the team the “Maple Leafs,” after all the piles of smoldering leaves, and soon left without teaching the team how to win.
They took with them many hotdogs and lagers from the hockey arena.
Onward to the land of a whole bunch of lakes, and, stopping at the corner of Portage and Main in a large city, the pioneers took up their many musical instruments and played quite a few hit songs. However, no one could guess who they were.
They left with many perogies and much kubasa.
A wide flat land by the name of Saskabush was next in their quest for a holiday weekend. The hardy souls trekked through many flat fields and many long highways without curves until they came to a place whereupon they gorged themselves on small round berries.
They hoped these delicacies were “cranberries,” even though they were, in fact, saskatoons. Undaunted, they made many pies.
It was only when they got to the place they chose to call “Alberta” (because there was a sign saying “Welcome to Alberta”) that they discovered turkeys.
There they were (the turkeys) in large freezers of ice, except now they were called “Butterballs.” Before they happily settled in with their Butterballs, the hungry pioneers sent several of their least hungry members west to the coast and north to the other coast to search for the elusive cranberries.
After much waiting and cooking a rare pioneer delicacy called “stuffing” the Butterball Pioneers finally welcomed the Cranberry Pioneers back with great joy, until it was discovered the brave explorers had returned with the lumpy cranberry sauce instead of the much superior jellied kind.
All was soon forgiven, and an epic feast was laid upon the table and the grateful pioneers gathered round with delicacies from across the nation and declared that they had found the perfect reason to have a holiday Monday.
They called it “Giving of Thanks,” which was later changed to “Thanksgiving,” because it looked better on government documents.
Then they poured melted cheese on absolutely everything.
Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker.