“It Isn’t Hard To Be Thankful At Thanksgiving When You Don’t Have To Do The Dishes”
Pies are being baked, casseroles prepared, store shelves looted and emptied, checkout lanes bulging with the weight of humanity and metal rolling carts. Traffic growing thicker. Kids skipping those half days of school with substitute teachers filling class time with old movies. Folks begin loading up the SUV. Mom is coordinating with her parents over who is bringing what and when they’ll arrive. Dad is checking the NFL schedule for the early game. The kids are packing ear buds and battery chargers. “Who double checked the cat’s food and water?” “Did anyone remember to put the dog in the garage?” Grandma is setting out the dinnerware and fine glasses while reminding Grandpa to do a good job running the vacuum. The table is covered in assorted candy dishes, veggie platters, nut trays over an elegant table cloth.
Streets and highways across the country laden with families trading questions of what did they forget, when will they get there and when will they leave, what is the name of Aunt Lil’s new husband again, the apprehension, the anxiety…the joy? Thanksgiving can quickly spiral into a vortex of stress.
Uncle Jim just has to blather on politics to anyone who will listen and oh crap, someone just left the tv on msnbc..
Julie’s grandfather is almost deaf and gets way to close to everyone he is talking to.
The way the neighbor lady acts when she drinks make you very uncomfortable…
It’s your mother in law’s turn to host this year and her cooking is awful and full of salt.
Larry brought his new shotgun to showoff and is racking the action while walking thru the house.
A black friday war room is set up in the foyer with several Aunts and In Laws plotting strategy for the after dinner shopping assault and they want you to drive.
The parking around Leroy’s house is terrible, and the only way to get in the driveway is to get there early; but then your blocked in and Millie left with the others to go shopping and she took her keys.
Six teenage cousins sit in the living room for hours in committed silence, texting and gaming away. Strangers united for a common cause that grandma placed at the kiddie table…again.
No, that isn’t the way it is everywhere. Americans still have the longing for traditions and the familial connection; Facebook proves that.
Some things will not change; like church, where 10% of the membership does 90% of the volunteering,
Within all of the noise and confusion and commercialism that has affixed itself to days of gathering and reflection, the core meaning still remains.
In some ways many are just trying to get thru it all; survive and live to see another year. They hold their proverbial breath; they smile and nod and pretend to understand what the other is saying.
We try to make Thanksgiving a square when everyone else is a star or an octagon.
For those who aren’t “people” people, for those whose wires start to tingle when the thought of family and travel and forced conversation come to mind, lets all just breathe.
Thanksgiving reinforces what we have, who we were and what we are. The pomp and the pretense are what we choose to make of it. It can be joy or suffering or some sort of noise between.
But it is a snapshot. It will be a memory. What we experience today is what we will own and share.
The original participants were only related thru circumstance and need who gathered together and shared things both physical and spiritual that continue to this day, despite of the mutations.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Give thanks not for what is on the table, but for what is around it. It isn’t the food, the appearances, the commercialism, the time off.
Simplify. The circumstances of our lives are not random; but it is up to us to recognize and receive the benefits and blessings of family, tradition, the wisdom and sensitivity of what that nutty sister in law just said to the widowed and lonely neighbor that you invited into your home. Take a moment Thursday to just pause and look around the house at the people. Everything changes.
What becomes lost is only found, sometimes years later, sometimes never.
I for one, will give thanks for what I have been given, what I have and for the time remaining, in spite of the fact that Tara’s dog just jumped on the bed and peed on my suede jacket.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and God Bless you all.