To Give Thanks

We call the day “Thanksgiving Day” but I sometimes thing we are making a grammatical error. For the most part our citizens celebrate Thanksgiving Day by pigging out on food and watching sports.  I don’t see where the  giving comes in.  thanksgiv-day

Oh, sure, there are communal meals where some folks ‘give’ a meal to others — but those who come to partake are taking not giving. I know there are a lot of folks working today;  my dad was one of those sorts of people, he worked for Wisconsin Electric Power (now WE Energies) and we need electricity every day so he went to work every day — holidays or no holidays.  Like millions of others who are working today — he provided what we all need to carry on with life day by day.

As Peg & I move into the day  I’m pondering how I can give more, in new ways, perhaps to new/different people.  For us, today is a bit different from what we’re accustomed to, as far as the Thanksgiving Day routine.  We’re here in Texas, on our own.  We opted to skip the communal dinner at the RV park;  I’m still working on losing weight to make the doctor happy, so having a big meal will just set me back a few days so we’re just chilling today.

As I get older, I care less about the historic Thanksgiving day — and how much of the historical record is accurate or inaccurate. What I do care about is that anyone living on the North American continent whether rich or poor has reasons to be thankful. Yeah — I know — life can be tough at times, for long times.  But we have it so much better than people in war-torn countries, with dictatorships, with famine, with disease, perhaps lacking even the most basic necessities such as clean water.  Life is tough but our starting out point is light years ahead of what millions of people dream about as their goal.

I never dreamt that retirement would be as wonderful as it has turned out to be. I have a lovely wife with whom I get along marvelously; an adult daughter who still seems to love me no matter the mistakes I’ve made;  the best son-in-law I know; a remarkable Grandkid and her fiancé.  We have enough resources to eat well, to see some of the country, to make new friends. We have our problems but we also have enough attitude to get through our problems — and Lord willing, we’ll have the time to do so as well.

I remember years when Thanksgiving Day morning was crammed to overflowing with details: food to be prepped, Christmas parades to be watched, dishes to be cooked, tables to be set, decorations to arrange, and of course football games to be suffered through. By the time we sat down to eat I was exhausted.  I didn’t need tryptophan to blame for my afternoon nap; I was flat tuckered out.

Nowadays our celebrations are smaller.  I don’t mind that. Well, I don’t mind that a lot.  Because I do mind it a little. I love family but part of the down-side of RV’ing is that sometimes you aren’t where your “people” are. I’ll be thinking a lot about family today.  We’ll try to call Milwaukee and talk with Kathryn & Michael; we hope Melanie & Drew too.  Edi, the deaf cat won’t be on the phone call. But I presume he’ll be watching Kathryn talk on the phone.  Grace the Australian Shepherd doesn’t have great phone manners, but at least she doesn’t bark while the humans are talking — so that will work out fine too. It will be a wonderful few minutes I’m sure.  And we’ll all remember how much we love each other.  Peggy may shed a tear after the phone conversation.  And then life will go on about it’s normal routine.

I’m was going to say that “I’m going to be thankful today.” But the truth is I’m thankful every day.  And I try to make other people happy too. I’m not great at it.  My personality type isn’t known for being exuberantly gregarious, but I have my ways.  I smile to whomever I see; help them where I can; goodness knows I’ll talk to almost anyone, anywhere — just not for long. You know — it’s that taking-people-in-measured-doses-thing.  I don’t know why we have to have a “day” to celebrate something we ought to be doing day by day.

And on this day when most of us are home with family, I’ll be thinking once again about those who work today so we don’t have to.  The utility workers, and the police and fire, doctors and nurses, truck drivers and subway drivers, the millions of ‘worker ants’ who go on about their business while the rest of us chill.  I think my dad missed a good 1/3 of life’s holidays.  I know when I was driving truck for a few years I did too — but many, many fewer.  Thank you folks, out there, for all the things you do that we seldom think about.  And thanks to those who carved this nation out of rock and forest; who had the foresight and vision to see something better than the place from which they came.  I hope somewhere in this country there are still men and women with that kind of foresight; goodness knows they don’t show their heads very often — but I’m sure they’re there someplace.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

And reader, thanks for stopping.


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