Like many of you, I have long railed against our gradual decline into an ungrateful people, especially late each November when the calendar indicates we should be stuffed to the exploding point with thanksgiving.
We have an official holiday meant to remind us – as if we should need a reminder! – how to respond appreciatively for all the blessings we have received as a country, as a people. Do we step up to the plate and give our thanks to God and to the Founders and especially to the early explorers who paved the way, though?
No, we step up to a plate loaded with carbs, lie within remote-control distance of a football game, drive endlessly in circles outside a discount store or glue our fingers to a keyboard to grab bargains in as many inches diagonally as will fit in our living rooms.
Then, we move on to the next holiday, where our yard décor incorporates – not turkeys, big belt buckles, tall black hats and ships with our ancestors’ names on the passenger manifest – but snowmen, reindeer, jolly elves and manger scenes. We observe Thanksgiving, but only in passing and then for only one day.
The historical facts behind Thanksgiving Day aren’t so factual, after all, so perhaps it’s only proper to give the holiday short shrift: Plymouth Rock was conceived years later as a marketing ploy. The survivors of the hard winter of 1620 weren’t somber Puritans, but fun-loving Pilgrims (although that term didn’t come into favor for a couple of centuries) who didn’t wear black clothes, tall hats or belt buckles worthy of professional wrestlers. There was no pumpkin pie the first year, and probably no turkey.
Still, it does us good to stop, look around and give thanks for all the things and people in our lives. The world is a crazy place, especially lately, and the very fact that we are able to observe Thanksgiving means we should not miss the chance.
We all have our difficulties. My wife unexpectedly lost a dear sister, Ankey, this month, leaving only JoAn and her youngest sister, Mona. The obituary pages are full nearly every day, as are the hospitals.
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. Nobody knows but Jesus.
Just as full, though, are the maternity rooms, and hardly a day goes by that we don’t greet a friend or family member who brings joy to our lives.
Mostly, we encounter tiny troubles from day to day. When we drove to Mississippi recently, laden with sorrow, our GPS device got lost herself as we neared the Big River. We went in circles, once even crossed that river, knowing full well that put us in Louisiana but interested to see where her voice was taking us.
I have a terrible sense of direction, and I wanted to watch a satellite-guided machine err as badly as I do. She brought brief smiles to our faces.
Happy Thanksgiving. Every day.
Reach Glynn Moore at email@example.com.