Finally, the bird gets even. This is clearly a step beyond the President’s annual commuting of the Thanksgiving turkey’s death sentence. “Turkey shoots down Russian warplane near Syrian border.” But no, it’s not the revenge of the traditional holiday meal. For a few moments, I allow myself to be amused as a diversion from what’s happening in the world around us.
The year’s best holiday is itself a welcome diversion, even though cable news is on incessantly as I’m cutting celery, onions, and carrots and cooking butternut squash. The bird has been flipped and spatchcocked, scraped and seasoned, settled with thyme on the rack above the vegetables and put into the oven. The table is set with flowers and the good china; all is poised for the family’s arrival.
Despite the chaos in the headlines and beyond, there is much to be thankful for. Despite numerous health issues in the family, we can mostly all be together, although some who are usually here are scattered this year. Just eight of us today, but a solid core of our remaining nuclear family. Our parents’ generation is gone, but their spirit lingers through much of what we do. My folks were married on Thanksgiving, so the day has always had dual meaning.
Our oldest grandson is back from his first semester in college, and we’ll try not to overwhelm with questions. (We’ll probably fail at that. We always talk a better game of self restraint than exercise it.) Everyone will pitch in. We’ll all be exhausted afterward, but basking in the afterglow.
Our family is our biggest blessing. But there’s more. Despite this blog’s frequent criticism of our leaders, both state and national, I’m thankful to live in the United States, where any idiot can run for office, right up to the Presidency, and any ignorant citizen of a certain age can go to the polls and vote. Where we can practice whatever religion we choose or profess to no faith if we want. Where we don’t expect government to do everything for us (silly us if we do) but have a wealth of non-profits to do good work. Where people can organize around a mission or a cause and, over time, actually get something accomplished. And where, if we don’t like how our elected officials are performing, we can mobilize and throw the bums out. I’m also grateful that so many decent human beings – not just displacing their private needs in the public arena – are willing to put themselves out there to run for office and, as well, to serve.
If you have time over the weekend, I’d urge you to watch PBS “The True Story of the First Thanksgiving”, on “American Experience. Each year, we as individuals and as a nation, write a new chapter and give it new context. But the opportunity to express gratitude endures from one generation to the next.
On a final note, my thanks also to folks who take the time to read this blog and share their reactions and opinions with me, even (or perhaps especially) when they think I’m off base.
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