Thanksgiving 2023

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. Historically this was a day to give thanks for a bountiful fall harvest. Most believe that is patterned after the Pilgrims’ first harvest in 1621 which they shared with the local Native Americans of the Wampanoag tribe. Over time the massive Thanksgiving dinners have come to represent the bountiful harvest more than the actual harvest. And over time Thanksgiving has come to represent a time to give thanks for the blessings that we have.

In most instances Thanksgiving is a day to celebrate with family and/or friends – and these days watch the obligatory professional football game on television. Often, the Thanksgiving begins with a prayer of thanksgiving and/or a recitation by the attendees of that for which they are grateful. When children are involved those recitations can be insightful and hilarious. For the adults they can be filled with melancholy for those who have gone before us – and particularly those who have experienced recent lost family and friends – where thanks is given and memories are replayed and we are grateful for the time we had with them.

As we age, the things for which we are grateful become less material and more personal. For us it centers around fifty plus years of marriage with all of the attendant shared high and lows of a family that has lived in twenty-five homes in four states over the years, and the collection of friends and colleagues we have known – and the fact that for many of those we still see and communicate with regularly. It centers around our two children which have now become, with their marriages, four children and five grandchildren. We marvel at our children’s skill and attention in raising our grandchildren and how proud all of us of what they are becoming. In many instance that pride is not only for what they are achieving in school and sports but more so in what teachers and adults, who draw us aside, tell us about how kind and thoughtful young men and women they have become.

The point is for all of us is to take time to remember and give thanks. It makes little difference whether it is during the pause between preparation for friends and family and their arrival, or the quiet clean up after all have left. Life can be hard; it is made bearable by our memories of good things. It is made joyous by the shared experiences, the kindness of others and the small victories in the face of adversity.

And along the way give a special thanks for the men and women who stand watch so that we remain free and safe.