And as another year sails into the sunset, and another holiday season descends upon us, we once again check our calendar to discover it is that time that we are supposed to have a delicious dinner, connect with friends and family and, oh yeah, give thanks.
I know, I know, I’m being cynical, but it always kind of grabs me that out of 365 days, we have to be reminded to give thanks. For one day. After which we, with much more enthusiasm, join the hoards of people celebrating “Black Friday”. Now, there is nothing wrong with giving thanks for scoring a prized Christmas gift at an awesome reduced price. I just don’t think that is what the Pilgrims had in mind when they bowed their heads, or today, if they hadn’t, would we?
But, the truth be known, the numbers among us that know the origin of Thanksgiving are dwindling. Kind of like Christmas. It hasn’t always been like that.
I remember when, on Halloween, kids used to dress as Pilgrims and Indians. Yes, Indians. Indigenous people. Native Americans. I didn’t get any of them at my door this year. Or last year, etc, etc. To polarizing I guess. Might not get as much candy, given the mindset of the homeowner.
But, there was a time when Thanksgiving was one of the two largest holidays for a reason. Back when I was a kid and times were at least as tough as they are today. Times when friendship was personal and neighbors had respect for each other. A time when the traditions of today had more meaning, not so much because of those around the table, but because of the ones that weren’t.
I remember when family was the thread that bound relationships. A child that didn’t respect their parents generally did not respect any of their elders, and it was perceived that the parents, not their teachers, were at fault. And the parents were embarrassed.
I remember being excited about having a turkey dinner because money was tight. I will never forget the year that the local grocer closed early to let his people go home, before we picked up the turkey we had on lay away. We had pork chops with all the fixings. And, somehow we survived.
I remember not being one of the providers, but one of the recipients of a charitable turkey basket. I didn’t really understand it then, but my folks sure did, and they were thankful.
I remember that when we sat down to celebrate the day, no one had any trouble thinking of things for which they were thankful. And, it didn’t take one day, carved out of a year, to remind us of the bounty that was ours.
This year, I will again sit down to a meal by myself. My decision. I have had an invitation to spend the day with others. But for me, this is not only another opportunity to say thanks. It is also another chance to reflect on life and how good I have it. It is a time for me to turn the pages of my life and once again, reflect on how lucky I am to have the friends, neighbors, and relatives that provide the love and support that make me give thanks every day.
But, most of all, I give thanks because, I remember!
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.
Bob, Sophie, and Kramer