Wednesday, November 27, 2013

thanks, but no thanks

Thanksgiving is a very big deal in our family. We go to great lengths to observe the holiday according to tradition. This year we are making room for nine people at the table, with four big, and (I'm afraid) muddy dogs drooling patiently at our elbows.

The kids are all coming home, and our new in-laws are joining us for a traditional turkey dinner. We'll watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in the morning, and collapse in front of the TV to watch football in the evening.

A lot of people aren't so lucky, though. Some of them lost their homes and everything in them just a couple of weeks ago when tornadoes barreled through the Midwest. Last year the problem was Hurricane Sandy.

Many families won't be gathering with friends and family this year to enjoy a home cooked feast on Thanksgiving Day because they have no place to go, no way to get there, and nothing to celebrate. I'd invite all of them, and their dogs, to join us if I could.

In fact, all across the country, people will go hungry on Thanksgiving Day.

Many will spend the day alone.

Some will set one less place at the table this year.

And...some will go to work.

Not that this is anything new. Doctors and nurses have always worked on holidays. For over thirty years, I was among them. Chefs and waitresses serve up a feast for their patrons while their own families make do without them. Police and firemen go to work. Gas station attendants man the pumps. All of them sacrificing a traditional holiday in service to the rest of us...for our safety, well-being and convenience.

Thank you one and all.
And what would we ever do without the CEO's of the mega-retailers on Thanksgiving Day?? The ones sipping an apertif while the stock boys and customer service reps and cashiers who work for them excuse themselves from the holiday table because they've been ordered off to work. How did we ever make do without that additional 12 hours of shopping when Christmas is ONLY 4 1/2 weeks away? God forbid we should miss a single markdown.
Worse yet: What if they run out of this year's Holy Grail of gift giving--the latest high-tech gadget or trendy doll? What then?
Oh, no'o'o! We could be left EMPTY-HANDED on Christmas Day!
I have to admit that there are a few things I will not be giving thanks for this year. I'm not thankful for the tornadoes and the devastation they wrought in the mid-west. I'm not thankful for the escalating tensions in the Middle East. My heart goes out to everyone who has to spend the day in a hospital and to the families and friends who will spend Thanksgiving there with them.

We could do without poverty. Without hunger. Without illness. Without violence. Go name a few.

Surely we can do without a trip to the likes of Target, Walmart, or Kmart on Thanksgiving Day. Thanks, but no thanks. Shopping can wait one more day.

If you are having a hard time counting your blessings today, whatever the reason...because you're lonely or angry or hurt or ill...I hope that you can find just one thing or one person to be grateful for this Thanksgiving Day, because...

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart,
it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” 


  1. Yes there IS always SOMETHING to be thankful for....even if it is only the sun coming up and the realization that you are still on the green side of the grass.

    1. True. Then there are vision. hearing, speech, the ability to stretch and get the picture...

  2. My one son works in the hospitality business, so he works most holidays. Lots of those people visiting family stay in hotels and those workers have to be there. We try to arrange our meal so everyone can make it. Twelve this year. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Jan.

    1. I hope everybody realizes the sacrifice people make so that they can enjoy the holiday. We had a great day. Hope you did, too.