“Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.” — Henry Van Dyke
Thanksgiving is on Thursday. The Christmas shopping season- Black Friday- starts the next day. Thanksgiving is the only holiday that celebrates gratitude.
Humans have celebrated a “holiday” related to gratitude since ancient times. After the harvest, people celebrated the bounty in various ways. That whole garbage about the Pilgrims and Native Americans being the first Thanksgiving in America is pure horse droppings. Native Americans had been celebrating a harvest festival for ages. They just celebrated that one with their new neighbors. The feast was wild game, fish, and whatever the Pilgrims and Native Americans cultivated.
Let’s remember why we celebrate. Forget the history, legend, lore, or myth. We should ignore those imbeciles who want to change the name to something more socio-political accepting to assuage their made-up group guilt.
We celebrate once a year to be grateful for what we have, no matter how much or little. As a friend used to say, “If you have a roof over your head and a loaf of bread under each arm, you should be thankful.”
“The turkey. The sweet potatoes. The stuffing. The pumpkin pie. Is there anything else we all can agree so vehemently about?” — Nora Ephron
We dedicate the day to food. It does not matter what you prepare for the feast, no matter how lavish or meager. You are sharing the love. There is no rule that turkey must be on the menu. Make whatever you want. It is your choice how you celebrate. Just do not forget why we celebrate. To thank God, some other deity, the Great Comedian, or your friends and family for whatever you are grateful for.
Every year I think of all the things I am grateful for. It is a list of little things. It does not change much from year to year.
I am grateful for everyday I wake up, take a breath, my feet hit the floor, and live another day.
I am grateful for my family.
I am grateful to still have a somewhat sound mind.
I am grateful for living in Chicago, the best city in the nation.
I am grateful to have the bare necessities of life, food, shelter, and clothing.
I am grateful that I can still cook the feast with family and friends.
I am grateful for my friends and acquaintances from all walks of life, beliefs, or lack thereof.
I am grateful for our police, firefighters, and EMTs, who keep us safe 24/7/365.
I am grateful for the emergency utility workers who respond to outages no matter the weather.
I am grateful for the medical professionals working in hospitals instead of celebrating.
I am grateful for all the restaurants who sent turkeys and hams to the police stations while we worked on Thanksgiving.
No matter your station or status in life, there is always something or someone(s) to be grateful for.
This Thursday, celebrate gratitude, then enjoy the feast, family, and friends.