It is almost upon us. The day on which we give thanks. Kind of odd we have to set aside a certain time to do this but let’s run with it. I looked up thanks in the dictionary and my eyes caught a corresponding word, gratitude. If you are like me you probably thought they were the same. Apparently not so
I read a short treatise that explained gratitude is a concrete response to something someone has given you. Thanks is more a feeling of wellness that doesn’t need someone else for you to have. That’s right,You kind of get in your cocoon and feel good about yourself. What was I thinking? Splitting hairs seems to be what we do these days.
Whether I am grateful or thankful I have to start my list with my wife. No, I am not pandering. I just started thinking about the concept that this lady and I have been together over fifty years, two thirds of our lives. We have weathered all sorts of tough spots and enjoyed some great ones. We zigged and zagged and yet all along we have stayed together. Simply amazing.
Our meeting was random. Kismet or happenstance? Who cares. When we look at our family of three children, their spouses and seven grandchildren and how everybody happened to be in these particular places we have to be thankful. People and ways of life and talents and personalities all melding and working toward a goal? That is simply a miracle.
I have got to think about our country that we take so much for granted. Whether you are in a mansion or a one bedroom in a barrio, you have a roof over your head. You are really free to do what you want and think in strange and mysterious ways. You can get on a train or plane or car and just drive to the far reaches. That mobility does not exist in a refugee camp in Syria or Jordan. Your will is only sort of free in China.
I am going to get selfish and say thanks for who I am. I have traveled to so many places since a childhood in a little village on Long Island. I navigated a train and three subways to get to high school in New York City….at the age of thirteen! I survived Georgetown and a stint in the Navy that included a slight detour in Viet Nam. I have had many careers and somehow managed to stay afloat financially. I am galled when someone says you earned it. I am just stupid lucky.
I have been given a vivid imagination and unbridled energy. Some of you have experienced my irrational exuberance and man does it feel good to get excited about something. I am so fortunate to be able put words on a page that some of you might identify with. Maybe spark an idea or touch your heart. You don’t think I am thankful for that?
I am grateful for our government no matter how screwed up it is. In theory we are able to cast our ballot for this way or that. We decry the effect of big business and money but the sheer absurdity is that only 50% of us vote. We take it for granted or are too busy in life to decide our future. We get pissed off at politicos and yet acquiesce when the rubber really meets the road.
I am thankful I have a God. That is not proselytizing but bringing up a belief I hold. It says that I have someone other than myself to praise. Could be God, The Father, Buddha, Allah or Yahweh but it someone or thing to be beholden to. I am not at the center of my universe. There is hope of more to come. As I sit with a dying person who is not religious it seems impossible to believe this is all there is. But that is just me.
Last I am just glad I have feelings and if you can call it that, a heart. I am not afraid to care or cry. I hug and I hold and really don’t ask permission. To me that is the essence of being human and being alive. To feel joy and pain. To look out the window and wonder at a pond or a forest. To see fifty shades of green and not just a row of trees. What a kick!
Thanksgiving should be every day. I am not so pompous or pious to say that I get it all the time. Truth I had to really think this all through on my keyboard. Meditating so to speak. I am not grateful every day and shame on me.
But then again that is why I am a mere mortal, warts and all. Thank you for listening. You are all, one of those things I am so grateful for. Or thankful..or whatever.
Ted The Great
Americans consume 736 million pounds of turkey on Thanksgiving Day alone (about the weight of the Empire State Building).A person consumes 3000 calories at the feast.
About 200 million pounds of turkey will be thrown away at Thanksgiving. More than 150 million pounds of potatoes, green beans and other vegetable sides will never get eaten. Bread baskets will be filled with an estimated 14 million pounds of dinner rolls that will simply be dumped after the big meal.
Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States, Canada and some Caribbean islands on different dates. Throughout the world there are festivals like Oktoberfest. They represent thanks after the harvest. For the most part it has had a religious significance but recently we have tend to be more secular.
Many department stores will open on the afternoon of tHanksgiving. That’s even though the idea of going to the mall on a day traditionally reserved for excessive eating, football watching and arguing with relatives is viewed negatively by a majority of Americans, according to one recent survey.