While I may be accused of overthinking, I will share some of my observations. With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching I have caught myself wondering about the blessings we have received. Rather than winning the lottery, we must include the negative things we have not experienced. Many war veterans feel guilty when he sees his friends killed while he made it home safely. We know of innocent friends, and perhaps family, that have suffered unfairly for circumstances created by others. We know of people who have been caught up in this on-going pandemic. It is likely we know some who have died in crowded hospitals, suffering with symptoms and loneliness brought on by this horrible sickness. We can feel grateful that at least so far, we have survived.
Thanksgiving isn’t just about the avoidance of the negative, but also about the mountain top highs we experience when ‘manna’ drops from the skies and we are fed once again. When my wife goes out to feed the ducks and chickens, excitement overtakes the birds as they anticipate the meal. We, as humans, have our times when, like Pavlov’s dogs, we salivate over the upcoming feast. I my case, I remember many years of enjoying turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, green beans, deviled eggs, hot rolls, and pumpkin pie, as my family celebrates Thanksgiving. The better part of the day was sharing the meal with family and guests. The talk around the table and laughter when old stories were repeated brought pleasure to our hearts.
I remember that after the meal everyone collapsed in easy chairs to watch football. Filled with good food, laughter, and the comforts of another meal we were happy, indeed. When I was growing up this was also about the grade school stories of pilgrims and Indians sharing and enjoying a moment of peace. We dressed up in garb meant to make us appear to be a member of one group or the other. I remember working on feathers and war paint to perfect my role.
We sent Hallmark Thanksgiving cards to our friends in hopes the postal service would deliver them on time. We also took this time to make our Christmas candy that had to cure for a month before it turned into a magical delight.
Fall leaves and a frost on the pumpkins added color and helped us remember to be thankful. Yes, we were thankful for the good things, but also for the negative things that may have been, but weren’t. As a kid I was thankful for the upcoming Christmas season that was only a month away.
I could envision the stores adding their holiday decorations. Lights and garlands were hung about downtown. This was the time that Christmas trees being cut and put in their stands, and beloved carols permeated the sound waves. In those days we knew we had a great nation with a great people. We were blessed and grateful.
I remember that my mom was grateful for those soldiers and sailors that served our country during WWII and the Korean War, she was saddened by some who did not come home. Others came home, but had injuries, whether physical or mental. In spite of that, we still had good reason to celebrate.
I personally remember the ‘cold war’ and the ‘Cuban Crisis.’ I remember the war in Viet Nam and then a string of wars in the Middle East. Even today, we have our hostilities around the world. Unrest fills our land and our leadership is struggling to find solutions. Whether racial, political, or fear of doom, it has made Thanksgiving more difficult this year. But as a great nation we should certainly rise again and remember our many blessings. Life isn’t perfect, but there is much for which we can be grateful.
For shoppers, we will still have our Black Fridays to enjoy. Smart people will find ways to practice social distancing and obtain bargains in the stores. I will continue to work from home and have vertical meetings. Technical advances have given us the tools to continue in spite of quarantines. Life is just a little different this year, isn’t it?
We still have a great nation and good people. Most of us will again be overstuffed with the traditional meal. When we consider it all, we can see the good. Our God is still in charge and we are still blessed beyond anything I can write in this note. It is a time to think on these things and to do our happy dance. It’s time to count our blessings and truly be grateful.