Brian Crossman. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

I love this time of year. I think most people do. We all enjoy the fall colors, the not-quite-so-hot temperatures and to see the combines running. Canadians love the cooler weather, I think mostly to show off their new hoodies or bunnyhugs. (There is a serious debate on the name; only in Canada this is a thing.) Harvest is winding down, the oilpatch is ramping up for the winter work. Hockey is beginning, baseball and CFL playoffs are looming. (Unless you are a Rider fan this season, then ugh.) The kids are thinking about Halloween and Christmas. In general, good feelings abound.

The deer are starting to move, great for hunting, not as great for the frontends of the pick-up trucks as we head out in the dark mornings and even darker evenings. (I’ve taken out several in my career.) So we worry a bit more about the safety of our crews and everyone else on the roads. (The most dangerous part of our day is driving to and from work) This time of year I stop to think about a late co-worker and good friend who had a fatal accident with a nice-sized whitetail buck on his way home from work. You don’t think about a deer causing this level of damage, but it sure can happen. The opportunity to witness the pain and suffering inflicted on family, friends and co-workers by such an event is something I would not wish on my worst enemy. It will change your life forever.

But it in these moments in the oilpatch when you find pain and adversity, you also find strength. I am always amazed how humans can not only survive these difficult times, but persevere and become stronger in spite of it all. The times you spend 14 hours on the rig grinding it out, coming home dragging your ass like an “FNG” will tire you out beyond belief. But guess what? You are now stronger, smarter and better for it. The oil patch is a 24/7 business, so if you’ve worked in it for any length of time, you have worked on nearly every holiday. But those who have are thankful. They are thankful for the work, the job and for the opportunity to trade time with family and friends for the money to provide those families which what they need, and maybe some extras.

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It is in our most difficult moments that we find out who we truly are deep inside. That’s the part of you that you rarely reveal to anyone. That’s the part of you that cares about everyone around you (even that miserable toolpush or the green roughneck) and pushes you to do the right thing at the right time. If you doubt you could deal with it; that means that you already can. It may be something like a hard day at work, or a serious tragedy, but it will change you. Trust me on this one.

But let’s get back to Thanksgiving. In these trying times, it seems difficult, if not impossible to be thankful for anything. We are struggling with a debt crisis, poor leadership and a cost of living that seems to be out of control. Our neighbors to the south look as bad or worse, giving “dumpster fire” a bad name. And we have the Russians doing unimaginable harm to Ukraine, the likes of which we cannot even imagine.

This brings me to what can WE do? We can jam our bellies full of good food, and watch football. (Two of my favorite things admittedly) Maybe rake some leaves, blow down the sprinklers and then nap on the couch? (That nap thing? Ooohhh yeah) Then we all say “Happy Thanksgiving” to each other, and call it good. But is that what it’s all about?

How about this? Reach out to a friend in need. Maybe it’s a short conversation to make sure they are doing ok. (Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about) Volunteer to serve food to the homeless. Donate cash or food to the organizations that support this. Keep it local, or universal, it doesn’t matter. There is always someone out there that can use just a little help.

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  • 0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
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This year my wife decided that she would cook a large Thanksgiving meal for two Ukrainian families that have been displaced by the war. Val and our niece Sawyer worked very hard to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving meal for them. (I “helped” by burning the perogies.) The families brought over some amazing dishes they had prepared as well, which insured that it was a true “Thanksgiving “meal. (To clarify, it was way too much food.)

We explained to them why we have this holiday, which is to be always thankful for what is truly important. It was the first time since before the war that they could celebrate and leave their troubles behind, if only for a while. They have related the stories from the war to us, but they are truly thankful for being safe for their first Thanksgiving. It was a wonderful evening, and we will do this again soon.

I guess this is my thanksgiving message: First and foremost, always be thankful for what you have, even if it doesn’t seem like enough. (If you are reading this, you probably do.) Secondly, be thankful for family and friends, and be sure to tell them every time you see them. The last thing is do whatever you can to help out somebody less fortunate, or struggling with a personal crisis. It’s more important than you can ever know. You will change their life just a tiny bit, but more importantly, you will change your own life a great deal. And that is something to truly be thankful for.

 

Brian Crossman is a partner at Independent Well Servicing in Estevan. He is dedicating this article to Calvin Johner, who left us twenty years ago on October 2. He was a good righand, a great friend, and an amazing dad. We are thankful that you were in our lives.

 

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  • 0059 Southeast College Heavy Equipment Operator
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  • 9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX
    9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX
  • 0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
    0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
  • 0015 Latus Viro
    0015 Latus Viro
  • 0052 Predator Inspections
    0052 Predator Inspections
  • 0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
    0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
  • 0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
    0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
  • 0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
    0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
  • 0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
    0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
  • 0032 IWS Summer hiring rock trailer music
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
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  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
  • 0011
  • 0006 JK Junior
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Wind power is not cooking your Thanksgiving turkey in Alberta on Sunday afternoon

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