Thanksgiving 2014

savyThanksAs usual in these older years of my life, we are in Arizona for Thanksgiving to spend it with my daughter’s family.  Today, we went to my grandkids’ school to help out a Savannah’s Thanksgiving Day Feast.  Being able to attend events at our grandchildren’s school is one of the blessings of having a second home near them in Arizona.  Since my wife, Muri, and I were transplants from Connecticut, it was something our kids never got to experience.  Today, Savy’s teacher read the traditional story of the first Thanksgiving in which the grateful pilgrims invited the local Indians to a feast as a way of thanking them for their help in learning to live in the in wilds of 17th century New England.  The kids made Thanksgiving bracelets with colored beads to signify parts of the story and turkeys out of cupcakes, cookies and candy corn.

Now, if departed newsman, Paul Harvey, were there today, he’d have said, Here’s the rest of the story.  The pilgrims only invited the families of several Indians to the feast and didn’t know how large Indian families could be, so when 90 showed up there wasn’t enough food, so the Indians graciously supplied enough for everyone.  This came to be known in the language of the Wampanoag Indians as waheenua, which roughly translates as potluck, also now an American tradition.  And within a few years, children of the original pilgrims were, with the help of newly arrived settlers, slaughtering the Wampanoag people.  If you were to travel to Plymouth this Thanksgiving, you could choose between a traditional Thanksgiving Day re-enactment or a National Day of Mourning presented by Native Americans.  So, as a historical holiday honoring our nation’s proud beginnings, Thanksgiving Day is tainted by the facts.

As a day to be thankful for our blessings and a time to be with family and friends, to these Older Eyes, it is becoming tainted, too.  I found this cleverly altered version of Norman Rockwell’s Thanksgiving that says a lot.

thanksgiving

How can we appreciate the friends and family by our sides if we are texting, checking out Thanksgiving Facebook posts and taking selfies at the table to show our Facebook friends what a wonderful Thanksgiving we’re missing.  Then there’s Creeping Black Friday.  How ironic that a tradition that suggests gratefulness for what we have is being gradually taken over by one that emphasizing acquiring more.  Black Friday sales now start on Thanksgiving afternoon … how long will it be before we just skip the turkey for the $149 sixty-inch TV?

But enough griping, Inner Curmudgeon.  We can make our Thanksgiving what it’s meant to be.  I am here in Arizona with my wife of 46 years and will spend tomorrow with my grandkids.  My health and that of my wife are good.  I have friends I love who have stuck with me through good and bad.  I am grateful to have a brother and sister-in-law that are taking care of my sister in her time of need.  I have found in my later years a faith that I despaired ever finding.  I could go on and on.  But instead, I’ll offer my traditional video gratitude list.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone.

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2 Comments on “Thanksgiving 2014”

  1. lifeunderacarolinamoon Says:

    Beautiful video…

  2. territerri Says:

    I’ve had too many holidays end up feeling all wrong, for reasons such as you’ve written about here and others. I think the best we can do is exactly what you did – remember to be grateful for all of the ways we’re blessed in this life. I did a lot better with that this year. And our holiday was wonderful!

    “I have found in my later years a faith that I despaired ever finding. ” Me too. Finally. Just finally starting to realize it.


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