Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

In The Doug House: My (awesome) bowl overflows with thanks for many things

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What am I thankful for as we head into the Thanksgiving long weekend?

That's the question I was asked this week when I showed up at Brush Fire Ceramic Studio on Corydon Avenue to help decorate a bowl for the fourth annual Empty Bowls Souper Lunch in support of Winnipeg Harvest.

I should stress I was not there to decorate my own bowl, although I have, in fact, created the most awesome bowl you have ever seen, and I am definitely going to tell you about that some other time.

Shaw TV's Tracy Koga invited me to help decorate her bowl, which, along with dozens of others -- including my awesome bowl, which I am not going to tell you about today no matter how many times you ask -- will be raffled off Nov. 6 at the food bank's fundraising lunch, which runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at ice level in the MTS Centre.

(Tickets are $10 at the MTS Centre Ticketmaster Box Office. Raffle tickets for bowls decorated by a who's who of celebrities are $10 for an arm's length. All the cash goes to help fight hunger.)

Also lending an artistic hand this week were renowned Winnipeg sculptor Jordan Van Sewell -- who helped me make my awesome bowl, not that I want to talk about that right now -- and Winnipeg Harvest's dedicated executive director, David Northcott.

As the TV camera rolled and Tracy asked challenging artistic questions, Jordan, wielding a pencil, deftly sketched on the centre of the bowl a human hand clutching a big juicy hamburger to symbolize the concept hamburgers are extremely delicious.

Next, I proudly drew a lifelike sketch of my miniature wiener dog Zoe to symbolize the fact I am unable to draw anything unless it is one of my dogs.

Then we pressured Tracy to draw something on her own bowl, so she painstakingly sketched a compelling likeness of a high-heeled shoe to convey the artistic concept she is very fond of stylish footwear.

The emotional highlight came when we challenged David, the driving force behind the food bank, to tie all of our sketches together into a unified whole, which he did via the technique of drawing a giant heart around our artistic renderings, which is precisely what Michelangelo would have done.

This was when Tracy demanded we gaze into the camera and tell her viewers what we were grateful for this Thanksgiving. I do not remember his precise words, but David was counting his blessings for all of the amazing volunteers who help Winnipeg Harvest every day.

My pal Jordan, who resembles a motorcycle-riding Gandalf from Lord of the Rings, was grateful for family and friends and art and for having a chance to use his amazing talent to help take a bite out of hunger.

When it was my turn to talk, I looked into the camera and... drew a blank. I knew I should be grateful for a lot of stuff, but I panicked. So I just said the first thing that popped into my head.

"Cranberries!" I chirped.

"Cranberries?" everyone else asked.

"Yes," I said, scrunching my face into a thoughtful expression. "No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without that dramatic moment at the end when someone smacks their forehead and shrieks: 'OH NO, WE FORGOT THE CRANBERRIES!' "

Q: Is that a stupid thing to be grateful for?

A: Yes, it's extremely stupid!

Q: Now that you've had time to think, do you have a better answer?

A: Yes, in hindsight, I am also giving thanks that...

1) I am having turkey dinner at my buddy Bob's house, and he finally bought a big-screen TV, so for once we don't have to watch football on his ancient 13-inch black-and-white TV;

2) The Bombers have only four (bad word) games left in this sad-sack season;

3) The Jets have 78 games left and somewhere along the line there's a good chance I'll get to see them at least once;

4) When our politicians disagree, they end up working all summer long; whereas in the U.S., they stop working altogether and line up at microphones to explain why it isn't their fault;

5) My son and his girlfriend got safely out of their apartment last weekend when some idiot arsonist set fire to a garbage bin behind their block;

6) Winnipeggers are incredibly generous and will buy lots of tickets for Harvest's Souper Lunch on Nov. 6;

7) I am out of space today, so I can't tell you about the awesome bowl I made. There's no need to thank me.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 11, 2013 A2

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