Happy Saturday and Howdy Folks. Sorry I’m a little late with this morning’s post. And Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of the long drive to Lewiston, Idaho, to feast with my father’s side of the family. It was time away from the darkness of my trailer boy existence that I welcomed and it gave me some of the more pleasant childhood memories I hang onto. When we were younger it was nearly always a two or three or even four day adventure. But as we got older, the trips became one or two day turnarounds. I read a lot of books in the back of their car on the way to and fro.
And the gathering was always immense. A vast crowd would gather, usually at my aunt’s house, and we would spend the day eating and catching up and playing pool. Grandma was always up to her neck in the cooking and would make several components of the feast that to this day continue in my family. Her “out of this world” rolls were one of those components. And what was called vermicelli salad (though made with spaghetti).
As we got older, after my grandparents passed, Thanksgiving became larger a gathering hosted by my dad. It was one of two times a year that we all gathered together. Our last Thanksgiving together with Dad was was four years ago. And oddly, I knew it was going to be our last. He passed just three months later.
Now, Thanksgiving is largely split between my family and Jen’s family. This year, we started with my stepbrother’s house and wrapped up at Jen’s mom’s house. It was a good time. Jen made Grandma’s rolls and I made Grandma’s salad. Then, the day after, I cooked up a turkey of our own.
Of course, that just describes the traditions around the feast and who we spend it with. At the heart of the day for me, it’s about being grateful. For everything. Not just the things we think of as good but also the things we think of as bad or hard. “Gratitude,” Cicero said, “is not only the highest of virtues but the parent of all others.” I believe that. I think being grateful requires us to take an inventory of of our lives to see everything that’s there, how it’s interconnected, what we or others have gained or lost, and how we will respond to it.
So this year, I’m grateful for a lot. I’m grateful for all of the love in my life — it sustains me and carries me. Not just the love I receive but also the love I extend to others. I’m grateful for all the people who’ve come and gone, everything I’ve learned from them. I’m also grateful for being able to do what I want to do with my life — in so many ways — because of the freedom inherit in how and where and who I was born. I’m grateful for my writing career and all the people who make that fly. Those close to me who keep me at the keyboard. Those in the biz who buy my work, prepare it and launch it into the world. Those out there who buy and read my work. And I’m grateful for my health and relative happiness. But I’m also grateful for the things I learn from those times of unhealth and unhappiness. Those times are just as important.
Of course, this holiday, for me, is the one to be kept each day. I find that being grateful keeps me focused and balanced.
So how about you? What are you grateful for today? How did you spend your day?