It might seem cliche to say "Here is what I am thankful for" this time of year, but I can't help it. I have caught myself multiple times recently in the middle of feeling grateful for something. The other day I was thinking about the Post Office and how thankful I was for them, what a feat the whole system really is, their reliability and for mail in general. I paused and thought "hey wait, that is how I'm supposed to be thinking right now!" Perhaps it's subconscious messaging from the radio, Facebook, the calendar, or advertisements. But maybe it's because this time year it's easy to honestly feel thankful. It’s getting colder, we’re spending more time inside, it’s darker, we’re winding down the year and reflecting on what it has given us. It’s almost like an acceptance speech. The previous three seasons have been the work, the joys, the pains, the awards show. And now we’re holing up to enjoy it and find out who has won. Well, like a game in a Kindergarten class, we’re all winners, and now it’s our turn at the podium to say Thank You to those people/items/events/conveniences (like the Post Office) that have gotten us to this point.
Today I’d like to thank Thanksgiving.
Thank You, Thanksgiving, for deeply-engrained traditions like Shirley’s zucchini bread, and walks in the woods while wearing sweatpants because those are the only pants that fit. Thank you for mid-afternoon naps in my parents bed, because that is the only bed big enough for my tryptophan-induced sleepiness. Thank You for bringing my conservative family to the same table as my liberal family (and thank you for at least trying to curb the conversations about politics).
Thank you for Mahar vs. Athol, and all the other intense High School football rivalries that take place on Thanksgiving morning, where die-hards and alumni stand freezing on the side-lines, reuniting, cheering, and holding hot chocolate in their hands to stay warm (yet it’s too hot to drink). And when I've chosen to (and I thank the Hupperts for this!, Thank You for the Turkey Trot, and all the other cleverly named Thanksgiving Day races.
Thank You to all those professional football players and announcers who play or announce, year after year, so my family can have something to gather around in sports camaraderie, as we sit by a fire together. And as loud as it can be at times,Thank You for giving the uninterrupted time for my family to play rousing games of Gin, Spite and Malice, Dominos and Yahtzee.
Thank You for being the one holiday where you aren’t bombarded with media telling you to buy anything that will last more than 24 hours in the fridge (unless you’re the type of family where the leftover pie makes it to Saturday). Thank You for making it acceptable to put treasures from outside, like pine cones, gords, bittersweet, winterberry and moss on the table and call it decoration.
Thank you, Thanksgiving, for lending yourself to a healthy dose of humor and shenanigans, including cartoon turkeys, giant inflatable things at parades, Punkin' Chunkin', and people asking children how to cook your turkey (and then video tape it or put it on TV). Thank You for always providing a new blooper that we add to the long list of holiday stories we tell (did I even tell you about the time Amelia tried to make a key lime pie?)
Perhaps most of all, Thank You for being so focused on food (what a joy!). And as much as I love garlic, Thank You for being so focused on food without a single clove of garlic being broken open (it's interesting, really). Thank You for making turkeys need so long to cook, so my mother has to stay up later and wake up earlier than normal to baste, the sounds of which (that I hear from the couch, on which we must sleep to accommodate family guests) give me such comfort, and the knowledge of what pleasures await in that oven permeate my dreams). Thank you for mashed potatoes, dark meat, crispy skin, jellied-cranberries, brussel sprouts, peas, stuffing and three pieces of pie (one of each).
Thank You, Thanksgiving. What a joy.