Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

To All of My American Friends,

Happy Thanksgiving!


I admit it. Thanksgiving is not among my favorite holidays. Growing up, it was always the most boring holidays. The adults would gather together, forcing my little brother and I to join along, and talk. Just talk. I would get looks and talked to for preferring to settle in with my book somewhere quiet while the adults mingled, snacked, and did whatever it was adults did. The food was not especially my favorite either (except the yams with marshmallows on top, the bread, the mashed potatoes and the pumpkin pie--but only my mom's pie. No one else seems to know how to make it right). I ate the turkey, but I was not a big fan. My brother got hot dogs (he was the family's hot dog king) or pizza or something different because he did not care for turkey either. If he could have whatever he wanted, why couldn't I? Because I was the oldest, that's why. I had to set an example. I was expected to act like a grown up but sit at the kids' table.

Looking back now, I appreciate those moments and time with my family and laugh at what I perceived as slights. Sure, Thanksgiving was boring for me as a child and into my teen years, but the memories those moments have left me with are some of my most treasured.

For the last few years, my husband and I have joined the crowd that eats out on Thanksgiving. Because of our work schedules and the distance from our families, we settle in together for a quiet Thanksgiving. It is our preferred way of celebrating. It is not much different from a weekend day really, other than the fact that our choice of eating locations drops considerably.

Giving thanks is something I do just about every day of my life. I have been blessed in so many ways. I have a great husband, two wonderful animals, a good job, a house over my head, and food to eat. Whenever I pass an accident or a funeral procession on the road or read about something in the news, I give a quick prayer of thanks for the health of my loved ones and myself. I offer up thanks every day at work as I hear stories that would make most hearts break. My parents were not perfect by any stretch, but they did love me and did the best they could. For that, I am grateful.

I am grateful for those who protect my country both abroad and on the home front so that I can sleep at night and go about my life during the day. I am grateful for the freedoms that I enjoy--the ability to think and voice my opinion no matter how different it may be from those in power and the ability to walk down the street whenever I want, just about however I want.

I am thankful for the beauty and nature around me and for my friends and my neighbors. I am grateful for the simple things in life that make it possible for me to live my life the way I do. And I am grateful to all those people that make it possible. Especially those who are working on Thanksgiving day!

John F. Kennedy once said, "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." I wholeheartedly concur. Thanksgiving is just one day out of the year. It is what we do every day that makes the difference.

There never fails to come a moment during that Thanksgiving meal, as the waitress refills my soda, when I miss being with the rest of the family. I long for the big family meal, the sound of that horrid football game in the background, the clatter in the kitchen, the smell of good food all around me, being on clean up duty, and the companionship of all those relatives. And yet, I cannot imagine wanting to be anywhere else than enjoying that quiet and decent meal with my loving husband, no stress, no hassles or bickering, no scraps to scrub off plates, no fighting the traffic or having to leave the cat behind (which always torments me). I am right where I want to be. And for that, I am grateful.

What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?
~Erma Bombeck, "No One Diets on Thanksgiving," 26 November 1981

23 comments:

  1. "It is what we do every day that makes the difference." Exactly. Not just on Thanksgiving Day, not just at church on Sunday...every day.

    I hope you and your husband have a very nice, quiet Thanksgiving, Wendy! (After cooking and family dinner and hosting it in our apartment this year, I may be up for doing it your way next year!)

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  2. What a sweet post Wendy! Hope you and your hubby spend a wonderful day.

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  3. Happy Thanksgiving! We're also part of the crowd that eats out on Thanksgiving Day. We just got back from Denny's. It's nice not to have to deal with cooking or cleaning up. Our kitties are glad to have us home so they have warm laps to curl up on. :-)

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  4. Wishing you the very best this Thanksgiving! :)

    J. Kaye

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  5. Great post, Wendy! Happy Thanksgiving :)

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  6. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family where you are - that's the best kind!

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  7. I'm so sick and full it's not even funny!

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  8. I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving dinner out with your husband. A nice and quiet dinner out without having to clean up afterwards sounds nice.

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  9. Florinda - Thank you! I hope you had a nice day too. I decided to make a list after reading yours, I admit. Although I didn't realize it would actually turn into a list until I started writing. :-)

    Iliana - Thank you! I hope you had a nice day too.

    Debi - Thanks! I couldn't believe how crowded Marie Callendar's was this year. Entire families of 25 were showing up for dinner. It's nice not to worry about the preparations and the clean up. No leftovers we wish would hurry up and be gone. :-) I hope you had a nice day too--and glad I'm not the only one who likes to eat out on Thanksgiving.

    J. Kaye - Thank you. Same to you!

    Bridet - Thank you. I hope you had a nice one as well!

    Ladytink - I know what you mean! I'm ready to burst. We had to bring the pie home because I'm so full.

    Trisha - Thank you. I hope you had a nice holiday as well!

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  10. Thanks for sharing, Wendy! I hope you and your husband have a wonderful Thanksgiving! :)

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  11. What a lovely post! I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving, and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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  12. Happy Thanksgiving!!! (a day late) I hope you had a wonderful holiday and that you stuffed yourself silly.

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  13. Hope you had a lovely quiet Thanksgiving. You know, about the time I was trying to find room in my fridge for my leftover turkey, I wished I was one of those people who go out for Thanksgiving dinner. :)

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  14. Hi Wendy,
    What a beautiful post. I still think you should be published and have your own column. I, too, used to try to sneak off to read during Thanksgiving. It wasn't one of my favorite holidays either but I remember them now with fondness.
    jody

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  15. You bring your cat with you to the restaurant?

    I couldn't resist. I know the feeling.

    That is a perfect quote from JFK.

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  16. Nikki - Thank you! I hope you are feeling better!

    Kookie - Thank you. I hope you had a nice one too. :-)

    Jody - Thank you! I don't think there ever was a family holiday I didn't try and sneak off to read through. LOL

    Carrie K - He's the reason I carry a big purse. ;-)

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  17. Very nice post!
    I too am always thankful; good to appreciate things!
    Our thanksgiving was in October but your description of the family gathering brought back memories(mostly chaotic..lol)
    Nice to be able to have a simple one just yourselves..

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  18. Merri - Thank you! I like it when the holidays are simple, I admit. :-)

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  19. Here's a late one but still, Happy Thanksgiving, Wendy!

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  20. What a beautiful post! I'm sorry I missed it on the actual day! I am very thankful for the blessings in my life too and try to live by them. Hope Riley's ok!

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  21. What a beautiful post! I'm sorry I missed it on the actual day! I am very thankful for the blessings in my life too and try to live by them. Hope Riley's ok!

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